Venezuelan, Colombian officials shuttle to normalize ties

11:13, August 17, 2010      

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Venezuelan and Colombian officials are engaged in a flurry of shuttle diplomacy to bring their newly-restored ties back to normal.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Monday hosted Armando Benedetti, president of the Colombian Congress, in Caracas to discuss ways to normalize bilateral diplomatic relations.

The two-hour talks, also attended by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro and Congress President Cilia Flores, followed a meeting between Benedetti and a group of Venezuelan lawmakers led by Flores.

In their discussions, which Flores said were satisfactory, Benedetti offered several proposals to boost bilateral ties, including expanding cooperation between the two country's legislatures, and invited his counterpart to visit Colombia.

Meanwhile, Maduro is scheduled to meet with his Colombian counterpart Maria Angela Holguin later this week in Caracas, after he attended Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' inauguration ceremony on Aug. 7 in Bogota.

Holguin said earlier this week that her upcoming meeting with Maduro would focus on the five commissions Chavez and Santos agreed to establish when they met last week in the Colombian city of Santa Marta and announced the restoration of diplomatic ties.

Venezuela severed its ties with Colombia last month after the latter, then led by Santos' predecessor Alvaro Uribe, accused Caracas of sheltering Colombian guerilla chiefs on its soil and took the case to the Organization of American States.

Santos is considered more conciliatory toward Venezuela than Uribe, whose presidency witnessed a notable decline in relations with Venezuela,which had already been strained by Bogota's close military cooperation with the United States.

Source: Xinhua


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