Venezuela and Colombia Restore Diplomatic Ties After Scandal

Venezuela and Colombia agreed to restore diplomatic relations and vowed to step up security along their border to prevent Marxist guerrillas and drug traffickers from mounting attacks or using dense jungle for hideouts.

The two countries will form joint committees to work on any lingering issues, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said yesterday after meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart - Hugo Chavez. The nations had been locked in a dispute over Colombian accusations that Venezuela was harboring rebels.

The agreement paves the way for a restoration in trade between the countries, which plummeted during the past two years amid accusations that Chavez was aiding the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in its campaign to disrupt the government, according to Bloomberg.

Trade between Colombia and Venezuela plunged more than 30 percent in 2009 from the previous year, after Venezuela imposed restrictions on Colombian imports.

The meeting’s modest results included an agreement to send ambassadors to each other’s capitals, improve military patrols along their border and determine how Venezuela would pay about $800 million in debts to Colombian companies, New York Times reports.

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