"We had a comprehensive and very fruitful meeting," says Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro after talks with Colombia's Gustavo Petro in Caracas.
Colombia's President Gustavo Petro has travelled to Venezuela and met his counterpart Nicolas Maduro, their second face-to-face after a years-long diplomatic freeze.
Petro's trip on Saturday came just days after the final reopening of the South American neighbours' shared border, closed in a spat over Maduro's disputed 2018 reelection.
Colombia's first-ever leftist president arrived in Caracas around lunchtime, according to the country's ambassador in Venezuela Armando Benedetti.
He was received by Maduro at the presidential palace for a meeting whose purpose Benedetti described as "continuing to work for a shared agenda between two sister nations."
The two leaders held talks for about three hours.
"We had a comprehensive and very fruitful meeting," Maduro tweeted after the meeting.
"We have a clear path of shared work that will continue to give positive results for our countries, in different areas. Long live the union between Colombia and Venezuela!" Maduro said in his message, which Petro later shared on his own Twitter account.
Petro shook hands with Maduro and left the palace without speaking to the media.
It is the leaders' second meeting since Petro took power from Ivan Duque last August and the official resumption of diplomatic ties a month later.
Petro also visited Maduro on November 1, when he called for Venezuela to be brought back into a regional trade alliance and human rights system.
Les comparto el comunicado conjunto con el Presidente de Colombia, Gustavo Petro. Seguimos por el camino del fortalecimiento de las relaciones colombo-venezolana, que contribuyen al desarrollo y el bienestar de nuestros pueblos. pic.twitter.com/dTPJSQBFNU— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) January 8, 2023
Thaw in ties
Venezuela severed diplomatic relations with its neighbour in 2019 after increasingly strained ties with Petro's predecessors Juan Manuel Santos and conservative Duque — who Maduro accused of orchestrating plans to assassinate him.
The final straw came when Duque backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido — recognised by dozens of countries as the victor in 2018 elections claimed by Maduro.
Reestablishing ties with Venezuela was one of Petro's first moves as president.
On January 2, the countries reopened the last stretch of their shared 2,200-kilometre border partially closed seven years ago and then completely blocked in 2019.
The meeting also comes just days after Petro announced a ceasefire agreement with Colombia's last recognized guerrilla group, the ELN, only to have the combatants deny any such deal existed.
Venezuela is a guarantor of ongoing negotiations between the Colombian government and ELN in Petro's quest for "total peace" in a country that has seen decades of civil conflict.
Petro will on Monday meet another fellow leftist leader, Chile's Gabriel Boric, on a visit to that country.