U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela met Wednesday with Colombian Ambassador to the U.S. Carolina Barco and Venezuelan Ambassador to the U.S. Bernardo Alvarez.
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said that Valenzuela had called the meeting to discuss the resolution of longstanding issues between the neighbor nations.
The encounter between Valenzuela and the South American diplomats came just hours after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed hope that restored diplomatic ties between Colombia and Venezuela would lead to the peaceful resolution of their issues.
Clinton’s comments followed a summit held Tuesday in the Colombian port of Santa Marta between Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and his Venezuela counterpart Hugo Chavez, at which the leaders re-established ties broken by Chavez after former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe accused the neighboring country of harboring terrorists.
Crowley acknowledged the role Argentina and former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, who is current secretary general to regional body UNASUR, had played in bringing the neighbor nations to dialogue.
Venezuelan Vice President Elias Jaua said Wednesday that the Chavez-Santos meeting had pushed away “the ghosts of war,” referring to Chavez’s order to dispatch troops to the border at the end of July, because, the Venezuelan leader claimed, Colombia threatened its neighbor with war.
Jaua also praised Kirchner’s efforts to promote dialogue between Colombia and Venezuela.
After the Santa Marta summit, Chavez said he was ready to “turn the page” in relations with Bogota and stressed that he does not support the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela.
At the meeting Santos and Chavez agreed to create five bilateral commissions whose goal will be to repair fractured ties between the neighbor nations.
Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin will meet with her Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on August 20 to oversee the creation of the commissions.