Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is “seemingly” trying to block a future improvement of relations with Venezuela, the country’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said.
“It looks like he has made it his goal to a future process of restoring relations,” Maduro told Venezuelan state television on Friday evening in response to Uribe’s call to Venezuela to do more to fight terrorism, implying the country is harboring FARC leaders.
“Uribe has been the one responsible for the destruction of relationships (of Venezuela) with Colombia and now, through his statements, persists in trying to damage any solution that may present itself,” Maduro continued.
The Venezuelan Foreign Minister claims Uribe’s discourse is part of a United Stated strategy coinciding with the arrival of Peter Michael McKinley, Washington’s incoming ambassador to Bogota, who had expressed concern about ties between Venezuelan authorities and Colombian rebels.
Maduro said that if Juan Manuel Santos, who will succeed Uribe on August 7, wants to improve relations with Venezuela, his government will have to “thoroughly rectify” statements made by Colombia’s current government and show “respect to the people of Venezuela and its Head of State.”
Relations between Colombia and Venezuela have been tense for years, but were cut entirely last year when the U.S. and Colombia struck a deal that allows U.S. troops to use Colombian military bases and airport for counterinsurgency and anti-drug operations.