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Colombia and Venezuela restore diplomatic ties

[ 2010-08-12 13:34]     字号 [] [] []  
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Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez restored diplomatic ties on Tuesday at talks to end the latest dispute between the ideologically opposed Andean neighbors.

Cross-border tensions have run high for more than a year. Chavez, the socialist Venezuelan president, imposed what Colombia called a trade embargo and, last month, cut ties completely over charges he backs leftist Colombian rebels.

Yet both leaders came to the colonial city of Santa Marta in a conciliatory mood, motivated in part by the need to revive bilateral trade of $7 billion a year.

"We have decided to turn over the page and look to the future," US ally Santos, who took office on Saturday, said after the lengthy meeting and a joint statement under a statue of South American independence hero Simon Bolivar.

Chavez gave Santos a formal handshake instead of the back-slapping hugs he often shares with other leaders. But he urged the two to rebuild trust between their governments.

"Count on my friendship and the affection of all Venezuela," Chavez told Santos. "I will never stop regretting how relations ended with the outgoing government."

Among a series of accords between the pair including setting up a cross-border security committee, Venezuela agreed to pay debts owed to Colombian exporters, Santos said. That debt is estimated at about $800 million.

At the heart of the latest fight were Bogota's allegations that Chavez, a left-wing foe of Washington, harbors Marxist Colombian guerrillas, and Venezuelan complaints about a Colombian deal to give US troops more access to military bases.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Colombia and Venezuela restore diplomatic ties

About the broadcaster:

Colombia and Venezuela restore diplomatic ties

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.