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"5,000 troops to Colombia"? Nation responds to Bolton's note

U.S. sanctions Venezuela's oil company

Colombia's foreign minister says his government doesn't know why U.S. national security adviser John Bolton had "5,000 troops to Colombia" written on a notepad he held during a news conference announcing new Venezuela sanctions.

In a brief address Monday evening, Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes said Colombia does not know the "importance and reason" for Bolton's note. He added Colombia will continue "acting politically and diplomatically" so that democratic order is restored in Venezuela and new elections are held.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Holds Briefing At White House
With handwritten notes on a legal pad, National Security Adviser John Bolton listens to questions from reporters during a press briefing at the White House on Jan. 28, 2019, in Washington, D.C.  Getty

Colombia shares a 1,370-mile border with Venezuela and has joined President Trump in backing Venezuelan congress leader Juan Guaidó, who has proclaimed himself interim president in the opposition's confrontation with President Nicolás Maduro. Bolton's note appeared to refer to the situation in Venezuela and were spotted while he and other officials were announcing the imposition of sanctions against a state-owned Venezuelan oil company.

When asked to explain the words in Bolton's notepad, the White House said in an email "as the President has said, all options are on the table."

Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.

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