Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez will meet in the near future to discuss security and defense issues, Colombia’s foreign minister announced Tuesday.
The presidents’ summit is part of a series of meetings between high government officials to improve trade relations and discuss security issues involving the presence of Colombian illegal armed groups and drug traffickers in Venezuelan territory.
Santos and Chavez met earlier this month less than three days after the inauguration of the Colombian president. This first encounter was followed by meetings of ministers from both countries and the forming of five bilateral commissions to work out outstanding trade and security issues.
Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin did not say where and when the meeting will take place, but stressed that relations between the two countries are improving rapidly.
“We are not triumphalist, but feel satisfied with the progress being made with Venezuela,” she told press.
Relations between Colombia and Venezuela hit rock bottom at the end of the administration of Alvaro Uribe, when – following accusations that Venezuela is harboring FARC and ELN guerrillas – Chavez cut all diplomatic ties. Trade relations had worsened in 2009 when Colombia and the United States signed a military pact that according to Chavez was a threat to the sovereignty in the region.