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Maduro accuses Colombian pres. of fueling conflict to set up US intervention

File photo of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (Photo by AFP)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos of trying to start an “armed conflict” between the two neighbors and draw a US intervention.

"The Colombian government of Juan Manuel Santos is fomenting military incidents and provocations from Colombia and also inside Venezuelan territory with the aim of triggering a conflict" between the two countries, Maduro insisted during a Friday meeting with his country’s military personnel.

"I am here speaking to the Colombian armed and police forces so that they do not lend themselves to the maneuvers of their incumbent president ... who would like to trigger an armed conflict for the benefit of North American imperialism and against the Sovereign Republic of Venezuela," he further stated, underlining that "we must not let our guard down for one moment."

The Venezuelan president called on his nation’s commander of strategic operations, General Remigio Ceballos, to take "necessary measures to ... annihilate any provocations or incidents that the outgoing government of Colombia may undertake to undermine relations between Venezuela and Colombia,’’ urging him to be “on your guard!"

The remarks came just ahead of Colombia’s second round of presidential elections on Sunday, the first such poll since the government entered into peace with former FARC guerrillas.

Colombia's outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos (Photo by AFP)

Maduro also urged the next president of Colombia to "correct" the "major mistakes of Juan Manuel Santos", which he said has led to the worst relations "for 200 years" between the two Latin American states.

Santos can no longer run for presidency after serving two consecutive terms since 2010.

The Venezuelan president has previously described Santos as being a "lackey" of Washington.

Maduro has accused the United States of being behind Venezuela's ailing economy, saying Washington is plotting to topple his socialist government.

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