Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday met with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro to discuss tension that arose after a visit to Bogota by Venezuela’s opposition leader.
The meeting was held in the Venezuelan border town of Puerto Ayacucho and was the first official bilateral meeting between the two heads of state after the election of Maduro earlier this year.
Speaking at Puerto Carreno, at the activation of the East Naval Force on Sunday, prior to his meeting with Maduro, Santos appeared optimistic that the two governments could resolve their recent differences.
Santos stated that he expects Maduro and himself to “agree on a level playing field for us to work together.”
“We were one country, now we are two. But in many ways we can work as if we are one country. We are sister countries, breathe the same air, we have the same cultures, we have the same story, have the same problems” added Santos.
Santos stated that he hoped the two countries could agree on proposals that would be mutually beneficial. For example “to join the rivers of Meta and Orinoco.”
“To do this would help get products out of our countries and into different regions’ added Santos.
Tensions have been high between the two governments in recent months, after Santos met with the leader of the Venezuelan opposition Henrique Capriles in May.
Maduro reacted with fury to the meeting between the two, claiming it was part of a “psychological operation intended to weaken Venezuelan democracy.”