Colombia’s defense, trade and foreign ministers will travel to Venezuela Friday to oversee the installation of biltateral commissions whose aim will be to address longstanding issues between the neighboring South American nations.
Colombian Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera will meet with his Venezuelan counterpart General Carlos Mata to implement a bilateral defense commission. Via the commission the ministers are expected to define strategies to combat terrorism and improve border control.
While in Venezuela, Colombian Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados will launch a program of economic cooperation and infrastructure, as well as define terms for the payment of Colombian exporters, who were left out of pocket after Venezuela suspended trade ties mid 2009.
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin is scheduled to meet with her Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro to officially restore ties between their countries. The two foreign ministers are in charge of overseeing the five bilateral commissions that were agreed upon by the two nations’ presidents during a recent summit in Santa Marta, at which severed ties were re-established.
Venezuelan President Hugo 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.
According to El Espectador, Rivera’s visit will be the first time a Colombian defense minister has set foot on Venezuelan soil for ten years.