Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin and her Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro meet in Caracas Friday morning to set up five bilateral commissions whose aim will be to normalize relations between the neighboring countries.
A few hours prior to their meeting both ministers expressed optimism that the talks would be a positive step towards resolving long-standing issues, particularly in terms of security, border control, and trade between the two countries.
“We are going to install the commissions and each commission will begin its work, and by the end of the afternoon we will have some conclusions,” said Holguin.
Maduro said that with this meeting represents “a continuation along the path to strengthening a new stage in relations – economic, commercial, social, cultural, political and in all senses.”
Colombian Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera, Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados and Transport Minister German Cardona are also in attendance at the meeting, which is being held at the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry.
The talks will run until the afternoon, after which Holguin will meet with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the Miraflores presidential palace.
The five bilateral commissions were agreed upon by the two nations’ presidents during a recent summit in Santa Marta, at which severed ties were re-established.
Chavez broke relations with Colombia on July 22, after the government of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe presented allegations of a guerrilla presence in Venezuela to the Organization of American States.
Chavez extended the olive branch to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos following his August 7 inauguration and the two have committed to work at normalizing relations, which have been plagued by issues such as security and border control for years.