Colombia’s Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez said Wednesday that “profound issues” like security and trade need to be discussed with neighboring nation Venezuela.
“Colombia has the best intentions. We have looked for options and alternatives, but we are aware that profound issues need to be resolved,” said Bermudez, following a conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The foreign minister said the solution could not be “cosmetic” and had “to lead to a profound discussion” on matters like border security and the trade embargo that Venezuela has unilaterally imposed against Colombia.
Berumdez’s comments follow Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos’ announcement that he was “very pleased” that Venezuela had expressed willingness to repair diplomatic ties with Colombia.
Referring to the possibility of Chavez attending his inauguration on August 7, Santos said “it would be big news for us and for that reason we are very happy to have initiated this foreign relations process on the right foot.”
During the Brazil conference, Bermudez said that he saw problems for Latin American integration because in some of the countries there were doubts about the values of democracy.
“ We have to go further in defending the fundamental values of democracy to build a stronger integration in the region,” said minister, who traveled to Sao Paolo after the conference to attend a meeting with Brazilian investors.
The foreign minister also announced that he was “very optimistic” about the future of diplomatic relations with Ecuador, after the rupture which followed a 2008 bombing raid by Colombia of a FARC camp on Ecuadorean territory.
Colombia’s relations with Venezuela were broken in 2009 when Bogota signed a pact with the U.S. allowing their troops access to seven military bases around the country.