Caracas, March 23, 2023 (OrinocoTribune.com)—President Nicolás Maduro received the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, at the Aquiles Nazoa Cultural House in Caracas, for their fourth meeting to continue to strengthen and deepen the cooperative relations that have been consolidated between both nations since the arrival of Petro to the Colombian presidency last August.
The first meeting between Presidents Maduro and Petro was held on November 1, 2022, wherein they signed a joint declaration at Miraflores Palace in Caracas, after the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two nations in August 2022.
The second meeting was held in January 2023, again at Miraflores Palace, as part of the first round of peace talks between the Colombian government and the Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN), held in Caracas. The last meeting occurred on February 16 at the Atanasio Girardot international bridge, at the border of the two countries, where an important trade agreement was signed and a special economic binational zone was proposed by Venezuelan authorities.
Colombia and Venezuela Sign Agreements on Binational Air Traffic
Petro was accompanied during this visit by his foreign minister, Álvaro Leyva, and his chief of staff, Laura Sarabia Torres, landing at the Simón Bolívar International Airport where he was received by Venezuelan deputy foreign minister for North America, Carlos Ron.
Cilia Flores, deputy and wife of President Maduro, and Jorge Rodríguez, president of the Venezuelan National Assembly, were also present at the meeting on behalf of the Venezuelan government, as well as the Colombian ambassador to Caracas, Armando Benedetti, on behalf of Colombia.
#EnVivo 📹 | Reunión de trabajo con Gustavo Petro, Presidente de la República de Colombia. https://t.co/Mn5lclJjLp
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) March 23, 2023
By August 29 of last year, Colombian and Venezuelan ambassadors presented credentials to formalize the resumption of diplomatic relation between both republics. Next, the Colombian consulates were reopened in the Venezuelan cities of Caracas, Maracaibo (Zulia state), and San Cristóbal (Táchira state), which are the Venezuelan cities with the largest presence of Colombian citizens. Venezuelan authorities estimate the Colombian community residing in Venezuela to total over 5 million people, while Colombian authorities estimate a Venezuelan community living in Colombia of 2.5 million Venezuelans.
Economic relations were re-established on September 26, when the border between the two countries was officially reopened, after seven years of being closed under the presidency of right-wing former president Ivan Duque, following Washington’s failed regime change operation against President Nicolás Maduro.
President Maduro and President Petro Sign Trade Agreement, Resume Full Relations
On October 21 of last year, the first binational parliamentary meeting between Colombia and Venezuela was held, as part of the resumption of bilateral relations and the border passing reopening. Venezuela and Colombia share a border of more than 2,000 kilometers, labeled as the most active border in South America.
Mainstream media informed that the visit of the Colombian president to Venezuela was likely prioritising the improvement of trade and investment relations, as President Petro was on his way to the Dominican Republic, where the Ibero-American summit will take place.
Orinoco Tribune Special by staff
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