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AP interview: Colombian leader warns Venezuela

Colombia's president is comparing Nicolás Maduro to Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic and says Venezuela's embattled socialist leader would be making a "stupid" mistake were he to attack.

Ivan Duque made the comments in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press before traveling to New York. There, Duque is expected to condemn Maduro before the United Nations General Assembly as an abusive autocrat who is not only responsible for the country's humanitarian catastrophe but is also now a threat to regional stability for his alleged harboring of Colombian rebels.

Duque refused to rule out a military strike against the Marxist rebels he claims are hiding out across the border. But he says any aggression by Venezuela's armed forces would immediately trigger a regional response with dire consequences for Maduro.

Colombia's President Ivan Duque speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at the CATAM air base in Bogota, Colombia, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Duque's will speak before the United Nations General Assembly and is expected to condemn Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro as an abusive autocrat who is not only responsible for the country's humanitarian catastrophe but is also now a threat to regional stability for his alleged harboring of rebels labeled a terrorist group by the U.S. and European Union. (AP PhotoIvan Valencia)

Flanked by Defense Minister Guillermo Boterto, left, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Holmes Trujillo, Colombia's President Ivan Duque delivers a statement at the CATAM air base in Bogota, Colombia, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Duque has ratcheted up pressure against Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in recent weeks accusing him of offering refuge to dissident FARC rebels that decided to break a peace process and take up arms again. (AP PhotoIvan Valencia)