Colombia is waiting for a signal from Venezuela that the socialist nation is ready to engage in a dialogue and begin to rebuild severed relations, Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said Friday.
Silva’s comment follows an announcement by Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez on Thursday that channels of communication with the neighboring socialist nation “have not closed.”
The defense minister said that Colombia “must wait for a sign of willingness [from Venezuela] because from our end there will always be a desire to work together, because the enemies of all the countries of the region are the same: narco-terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime”.
“God willing, through diplomatic channels we will be able to resolve the differences with our neighbors. I remain hopeful that this will be possible and in the meantime we must wait patiently,” Silva added.
The minister said that if relations between the two nations were to normalize, Colombia would be disposed to help Venezuela in terms of security concerns.
Colombia-Venezuelan diplomatic relations deteriorated after Colombia signed an agreement with the U.S. that allows the Americans to use military bases and civilian airports for counternarcotics and counterterrorism missions.
The controversial accord grants U.S. military personnel access to airbases across Colombia, supposedly with the objective of combatting terrorism and drug trafficking in the country. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez considers the arrangement the greatest current threat to Latin America as a whole.
The border region has long been a source of tension between the countries, as Venezuela accuses Colombia of allowing right-wing paramilitary fighters to enter Venezuelan territory, while Colombia says the border is often crossed by left-wing guerrillas seeking refuge in the neighboring country.