Venezuela, Colombia resume ties after spat

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 13:27

Puerto Ayacucho (Venezuela): Venezuela and Colombia renewed relations after two months of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accusing Bogota of destabilization.

Maduro and Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos met privately at the border town of Puerto Ayacucho, seeking to turn the page on a diplomatic conflict that began in May after Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles visited Bogota.

Appearing together before reporters after the meeting, the two presidents noted the importance of their countries working together while respecting their differences.

"We told each other frankly that there are things we don`t agree on, that we see many things differently, but that we have an immense obligation and responsibility to work together and that`s what we`re going to do," Santos said.

For his part, Maduro noted that the path to good relations is "respect, constant communication and growing cooperation".

Both leaders agreed to reactivate the bilateral agenda.

"We`ve decided to activate a series of permanent meetings at the presidential level, at the level of foreign ministers...and to recover the time lost in good faith, with the best will in the world," Maduro said.

The meeting, the first between the two men since Maduro assumed the Venezuelan presidency in April, served to iron out their differences after Maduro accused Colombia of conspiring against him and even of organizing a plan to assassinate him, a claim rejected by Santos as "ridiculous".

Venezuelan rhetoric against Colombia escalated after Capriles, who does not accept that Maduro won the April election, was received by Santos at Colombia`s seat of government, prompting Maduro to complain of "a stab in the back".

Relations between Colombia and Venezuela, countries that share a long, porous border, have often had their ups and downs.

During the 1999-2013 presidency of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia over disagreements with Colombia`s Alvaro Uribe.

But ties were reestablished in August 2010 when Santos took office as Colombia`s president.


First Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 13:27

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