Colombia’s Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera and Venezuela’s Interior and Justice Minister Tarek El Aissami held a four-hour meeting on Friday, along with army and police officials, with the aim of agreeing on protocols in the fight against drugs, and improving the planning of the border security.
Venezuela also said it would support Colombia’s fight against armed groups. “The government of President Chavez does not endorse or promote any illegal group, including the FARC,” according to El Aissami.
Rivera said before the summit that they would seek to “deepen integration and communication to ensure an effective fight against drug trafficking,” as well as to combat other crimes.
“During the last meeting in Caracas we proposed to extend this cooperation to the fight against kidnapping and extortion. They will bring an answer to the document we handed them and we shall see if we can add these crimes to our cooperation,” Rivera stated.
The neighboring nations have recently been advancing their bilateral cooperation following a freeze in relations under previous Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
On Tuesday, Colombia announced it would extradite suspected drug trafficker Walid Makled to Venezuela rather than to the U.S., which had also requested his extradition. On Wednesday,Venezuela extradited three suspected guerrillas to Colombia, which Colombia considered a “very clear signal” of cooperation between both countries.