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Venezuela, Colombia restore full diplomatic ties after 3 years

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faría (L) meets with his Colombian counterpart Álvaro Leyva to discuss resumption of diplomatic ties. (File photo)

Venezuela and Colombia have restored full diplomatic relations after a three-year logjam with the two South American neighbors exchanging ambassadors for the first time since 2019.

The new Colombian ambassador, Armando Benedetti, was received in Caracas by Venezuela's deputy foreign minister Rander Pena Ramirez on Sunday.

"Relations with Venezuela should never have been severed. We are brothers and an imaginary line cannot separate us," Benedetti said in a Twitter post.

Ramirez also posted a Twitter message saying that “our historical ties summon us to work together for the happiness of our peoples.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has also appointed former foreign minister Felix Plasencia as the country’s new ambassador to Bogota.

The restoration of ties came after Colombia’s new left-wing president, Gustavo Petro, and Venezuela’s Maduro announced plans on August 11 to end hostilities fueled by the US that saw them severing ties back in 2019.

The normalization process between the two South American nations will include the full reopening of the more than 2,000-kilometer border between them, which has been mostly shut to vehicles since 2015, though it has been open to pedestrians since late last year.

Caracas and Bogota have also expressed their willingness to restore bilateral military ties.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries broke in 2019, after Colombia's then-President Ivan Duque refused to recognize Maduro's election and backed Washington-propped opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president.

Embassies and consulates in both countries were shut down, and flights between the two Latin American neighbors were also grounded. The border between them also remained completely shut between 2019 and late 2021.

However, relations between the two neighbors have begun to improve since Petro assumed office in early August.

Petro, Colombia’s first left-wing president, declared that he will recognize Maduro and work with the Venezuelan government on numerous issues, including battling against rebel groups along the porous border between the two countries.

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