Colombia, Venezuela to redeploy envoys, probe border issue

Quito, Sep 22 (IANS) Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro have agreed to redeploy ambassadors and launch an investigation into the border crisis, the media reported on Tuesday.

The agreement came after a meeting held on Monday in the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, EFE news reported.

They also decided to tackle “sensitive issues” affecting the ongoing border crisis at the ministerial level, starting with a meeting in Caracas on Wednesday, according to a statement read out by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa after the meeting.

The statement also focused on other issues too, including the progressive normalisation of the border, coexistence of economic, political and social models of each country, fostering a climate of mutual respect.

Both presidents were satisfied with the outcome of the meeting where, according to Santos, both sides agreed to investigate “some incidents of air space violation at the (Colombian) border” and work together to fight criminal gangs, drug trafficking and smuggling.

The Colombian leader was respectful of the measures adopted by the Venezuelan government to deal with the crisis, such as the partial closure of the border and the deportations of undocumented Colombians, but also reiterated the need for recognition of the human rights of his compatriots.

Maduro hoped the schedule for investigating common problems would help resolve them and benefit not only the people of Colombia and Venezuela but the entire South American region.

The agreements bring an end to the crisis that erupted following Maduro’s order on August 19 to close a part of the border crossing between the two countries and deport over 1,600 Colombians living in Venezuela.

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