The Venezuelan and Colombian presidents traded insults at a summit with Hugo Chavez telling Alvaro Uribe to 'Go to hell!' after he was called a 'coward'.
President Hugo Chavez nearly stormed out of the summit on Monday during a shouting match with his Colombian counterpart.
The clash took place during a private meeting of heads of state, on the sidelines of a two-day summit of Latin American and Caribbean nations in Cancun, Mexico, a Colombian diplomat told the AFP news agency.
Mr Uribe complained to Mr Chavez about a trade embargo Venezuela has imposed on Colombia, upsetting the Venezuelan president and further exacerbating their falling out ever since Bogota signed a military base agreement with the US last year.
Mr Chavez then accused Mr Uribe of planning his assassination by a paramilitary squad and threatened to walk out of the summit in disgust.
"An angry Uribe then shouted: 'Be a man! These issues are meant to be discussed in these venues. You're brave speaking at a distance, but a coward when it comes to talking face to face'," the diplomat said.
Mr Chavez is reported to have replied: "Go to hell!"
President Felipe Calderon of Mexico then attempted to reconcile the pair of fuming leaders, according to the diplomat.
Mr Calderon said later that Venezuela and Colombia must settle their differences in "respectful dialogue ... to avoid accusations and recriminations".
His spokesman, Max Cortazar, confirmed the Uribe-Chavez altercation.
"There was a hot exchange of views, but without getting down to insults," Mr Cortazar insisted.To read full London Telegraph story — Go Here Now.
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