Colombian President Alvaro Uribe announced on Wednesday that his government is open for talks with Venezuela, and that he fears negative relations between the two Andean neighbors deprive them of prosperity, reported Caracol Radio.
“The disunity between our countries worries me a lot, and is a factor that deprives us of prosperity,” Uribe said.
Diplomatic and trade relations between Colombia and Venezuela have been virtually frozen since last year, when Colombia signed an agreement with the U.S. that allows the Americans to use Colombian military bases and civilian airports for counternarcotics and counterterrorism missions.
Trade restrictions placed by Venezuela on Colombian imports have cost Colombian businesses millions of dollars. Between, January 2009 and January 2010, exports from Colombia to Venezuela have fallen 77%.
The Colombian leader also issued a statement in defense of the agreement he signed with the U.S. to allow for American use of Colombian military bases, claiming that the base agreement is meant to help his country defeat its “internal plague of violence.”
Last week, the Venezuelan Congress’ Foreign Policy Commission confirmed that their country will not repair ties with Colombia while President Alvaro Uribe remains in power.