Venezuela, Colombia agree to renew diplomatic ties

Venezuelan, Columbian foreign ministers agree to reestablish diplomatic ties after both countries recalled ambassadors last month amid border crisis

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

(L to R) Foreign Ministers of Venezuela, Delcy Rodriguez, Ecuador, Ricardo Patino, of Colombia, Maria Angela Holguin and of Uruguay Rodolfo Nin Novoa meet in Quito on September 12, 2015

The foreign ministers of Colombia and Venezuela agreed to renew diplomatic contacts that had been interrupted by an ongoing border crisis between the two neighbors.

Ambassadors from each country had been recalled in late August after tensions over the crisis boiled over.

However, Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin and her Venezuelan counterpart, Delcy Rodriguez, failed to agree on a meeting of their respective presidents to fully resolve the crisis, according to a joint statement.

That left some 20,000 Colombians in limbo.

Venezuela has deported some 1,500 Colombians living in Venezuela since the crisis began and more than 18,500 others have fled in fear, the United Nations said.

Bogota and Caracas have been in a spiraling row since President Nicolas Maduro closed part of their shared border on August 19, blaming Colombian paramilitaries for an attack on a Venezuelan anti-smuggling patrol.

Maduro accused Colombia of waging an "attack on Venezuela's economy," a reference to the rampant smuggling of heavily subsidized goods out of the oil-rich but shortage-hit socialist country.

An earlier meeting between Holguin and Rodriguez on August 26 failed to end the war of words between the two countries.

The governments of Ecuador and Uruguay have been pushing officials in Bogota and Caracas to resolve their differences, and got the foreign ministers to meet in Quito.

The ministers made "satisfactory advances" in dealing with the "sensitive issues," and will consult with their respective leaders about plans for a presidential meeting, said a final joint statement read by Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino.