Venezuelan, Colombian leaders vow to work toward integration

Caracas, Nov 1 (EFE).- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Colombia’s Gustavo Petro agreed here Tuesday to work toward complete integration of their countries in areas such as the economy, migration and security.

The two men met privately for more than two hours at the presidential palace in Caracas, an encounter that seals the renewal of bilateral ties after nearly four years of rupture under the previous rightist government in Colombia.

The portions of the joint declaration that were made public included passages about reviving trade links and “new steps toward a complete and secured opening of the borders.”

The two presidents also discussed expanding cooperation between Monomeros – the Colombian subsidiary of Venezuelan state oil company Pdvsa – and Venezuela’s Pesquiven petrochemical firm.

A review of “multilateral issues” touched on the possible return of Venezuela to the Andean Community of Nations.

On the question of the shared border, which reopened Sept. 26 after being closed for seven years, Petro and Maduro affirmed their commitment to reclaiming the region from criminal groups.

“The border fell into the hands of mafias,” Colombia’s first leftist president said. “We’re going to rebuild the relations that existed, including at the level of intelligence to be able to strike blows at the owners of (illicit) capital.”

“It is against nature,” Petro said, for neighboring countries to be estranged from one another.

Another topic was the possibility of Venezuela and Colombia collaborating at the upcoming COP27 United Nations climate change conference in Cairo to present a “common policy” in defense of Amazonia.

Maduro also undertook to consider Petro’s proposal that Venezuela return to the Inter-American Human Rights System. EFE hp-ime/dr

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