Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Thursday stressed that his country is not “a sanctuary for violent armed groups” and reiterated his government’s willingness to re-establish “cordial and cooperative” relations with Colombia.
The Venezuelan leader said that bilateral relations should be redeveloped “with respect,” without either country involving itself in the internal issues of the other.
“I want to recognize [Colombian] President Juan Manuel Santos’ willingness to follow this path. We are in the same position, resolved to recuperate and create the best relations with our brother country Colombia,” Chavez said.
Chavez stressed that his administration would not permit the presence of illegal Colombian armed groups in Venezuelan territory. “That needs to be very clear and remain very clear,” he said.
Venezuela and Colombia have been working at repairing relations broken after on July 22, after the government of Colombia’s then-President Alvaro Uribe presented allegations of a guerrilla presence in Venezuela to the Organization of American States.
Chavez extended an olive branch to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos following the new leader’s August 7 inauguration, and the two have committed to work at normalizing relations.
The two countries set up five bilateral commissions, whose aim are to resolve long-standing issues, particularly in terms of security, border control, and trade between the two countries.