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Venezuela, Colombia to reopen land borders, skies

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This combo picture shows Colombia's newly-elected leader, Gustavo Petro (L) and Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela and Colombia are scheduled to reopen their shared land border later this month and also resume commercial flights between the two countries.

Their leftist leaders said on Friday that they plan to re-establish diplomatic ties severed between the neighboring Latin American nations in 2019.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro tweeted that on September 26, "we will jointly open the borders between Venezuela and Colombia. In addition, we will resume flights between Caracas-Bogota and Valencia-Bogota."

Colombia's newly-elected leader, Gustavo Petro, posted a similar message on Twitter, adding, "We confirm the government's commitment to re-establish fraternal relations."

The two countries had severed their ties after Petro's predecessor, right-wing former president Ivan Duque arbitrarily rejected Maduro's 2018 presidential re-election and recognized the US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation’s acting president, instead.

As a result, embassies and consulates in both countries were shut down, and flights between them were also discontinued. Even the land border between the two nations remained closed between 2019 and October 2021.

However, relations between the two countries started to improve after Petro became Colombia's new president and promised to resume trade between the neighboring countries.

The governments of Caracas and Bogota last month appointed ambassadors to each other as a step towards the restoration of diplomatic ties.

Petro’s stunning rise to power ushered in a new era of politics in the Latin American nation after a century of right-wing rule and decades of national unrest.

Following Petro's win in the election, Maduro congratulated him, saying, "I congratulate Gustavo Petro ...  for the historic victory .... The will of the Colombian people was heard, who came out to defend the path of democracy and peace. New times are on the horizon for this brother country".

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