Venezuela and Colombia appoint ambassadors to try to mend ties | Political news

Venezuela and Colombia appoint envoys to each other’s capitals, with the aim of re-establishing relations that have been broken for more than three years.

Venezuela and Colombia have appointed each other as ambassadors, days after the inauguration of Colombia’s first left-wing president, Gustavo Petro, who has pledged to mend ties with his neighbor.

The former Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Félix Plasencia, “soon will be in Bogotá”, President Nicolás Maduro announced this Thursday. The newly elected Colombian president said Armando Benedetti, a former senator, will be in charge of “normalizing diplomatic relations between the two countries.”

Petro, who was sworn in as Colombia’s first leftist president on Sunday, had pledged during his campaign to immediately reverse the decision by his predecessor, right-wing leader Ivan Duque, to cut diplomatic ties with Venezuela.

Duque, along with the United States, the European Union and others, did not recognize Maduro’s re-election in 2019 and instead supports opposition leader Juan Guaido’s claim to be Venezuela’s interim president.

Maduro was unable to attend Petro’s investiture because Duque had banned him from entering the country.

In addition to the exchange of ambassadors, the normalization process will include the full reopening of the more than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) border between the two countries, which has been largely closed to vehicles since 2015, despite which has been open to pedestrians since late. last year.

Caracas and Bogotá have also announced intentions to restore military relations.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said Maduro had ordered him to immediately establish contact with Colombian Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez for this purpose.

The governments also agreed to “promote security and peace” on their shared border.

“We will continue step by step and at a safe pace to move towards the restoration and reconstruction of political, diplomatic and commercial relations,” Maduro said on state television.

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