Gustavo Petro, Nicolas Maduro discuss opening Colombia-Venezuela border

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“We discussed our desire to restore order on the border, various issues of peace and a prosperous future for our two peoples,” Maduro said on Twitter, adding that “on behalf of the people of Venezuela, I congratulations (to Mr. Petros) for his victory “.

Colombian President-elect Gustavo Petro and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro have discussed their common desire to “restore” the movement of people and goods across the two neighboring states, which has been severely restricted since 2019 due to the cessation of hostilities. their diplomatic relations.

“We discussed our desire to restore order on the border, various issues of peace and a prosperous future for our two peoples,” Maduro said on Twitter, adding that “on behalf of the people of Venezuela, I congratulations (to Mr. Petros) for his victory “.

Mr Petros, who was elected the first president of the left in Colombia’s history on Sunday, had assured during the election campaign that he would seek to normalize relations between the two countries. He said he had discussed with the “Venezuelan government the opening of the border and the full restoration of human rights”.

No other details were given about the conversation between the two leaders.

Venezuela cut off diplomatic relations with Colombia in 2019, following the re-election of President Maduro, which Bogota did not acknowledge, calling it a product of fraud. Outgoing right-wing President Ivan Duque has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president.

The borders of the two countries, once the busiest in Latin America, have been completely closed. The passage of vehicles had been restricted since 2015.

At the vast border (over 2,200 km) many illegal roads were created, before their crossing by pedestrians and boats moving through rivers resumed in part, at the end of 2021.

However, the passage of vehicles and goods has not resumed in the Colombian city of Cucuta, where the largest border crossings are located.

Speaking to the press, Mr Duque warned the president-elect against “Venezuela’s gas dependence” because “we see what is happening in Europe. “You can not give control of your national energy sovereignty to an authoritarian regime which, at any time (…) can cut off gas supplies.”

The border area is also the scene of frequent attacks by armed rioters against Colombian and Venezuelan security forces.

Ivan Duke has repeatedly accused Nicolas Maduro of offering refuge to Colombian rebels and drug traffickers on Venezuelan soil, which Caracas denies.

“The Venezuelan authorities had to ‘arrest them and extradite them to show Colombia that they intend to cooperate with our country,'” Duque said.

The two countries remain, whether they like it or not, inextricably linked. Colombia welcomed two to six million Venezuelan citizens who fled the country due to the political and economic crisis after 2015.

Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

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