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Maduro and Petro are considering meeting in October, says Colombian ambassador to Venezuela

The new Colombian ambassador in Caracas said Tuesday (30) that the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, and Colombia, Gustavo Petro, may meet for the first time in October after restoring bilateral relations after three years of division.

“We are planning to see if it could be in October,” Ambassador Armando Benedetti said in response to a reporter’s question about a possible meeting between the two presidents after his meeting with the Speaker of the Venezuelan Parliament, Jorge Rodriguez.

Benedetti, 54, arrived in Venezuela on Sunday and handed his credentials to Maduro on Monday, officially resuming ties that were severed in 2019, when then-president Ivan Duque’s government recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as a “responsible president”. On the questions surrounding Maduro’s re-election.

Benedetti and Maduro talked about “various topics,” including energy, the ambassador said, without going into further details.

The new Venezuelan ambassador to Colombia, former Foreign Minister Felix Placencia, also arrived in Bogota on Sunday.

There is still no date for the reopening of the partially closed border crossings to vehicles in 2015 and all of 2019 when they were restricted to pedestrians.

Petro and Maduro expressed their readiness to “normalize” the situation on the 2,200-kilometre common border, which suffers from smuggling and the actions of irregular armed groups.

Trade between Venezuela and Colombia, which reached nearly $7.2 billion in 2008, has declined, and the Colombian-Venezuelan Integration Chamber (CAVECOL) is operating with a forecast of $800 million to $1.2 billion for this year.

The bilateral agenda also includes another key point: the issue of immigration, as thousands cross the dividing line every day, and Colombia welcomes two of the more than six million Venezuelans who, according to the United Nations, have emigrated due to the crisis in their country.

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erc-ba / yow / rpr