The government of Nicolas Maduro supports Gustavo Petro’s quest for a bilateral ceasefire with the ELN and other armed groups, the last active guerrilla in Colombia, as part of its total peace policy. This is the first point addressed by the brief joint declaration of the two presidents, who held an “extraordinary bilateral meeting” in Caracas this Saturday, after Petro’s false start on the New Year, when he declared a ceasefire with the ELN, which the rebels declined.
With the normalization of relations between the two neighbors, the leaders still lack definitions on issues such as control of a wider common border or Venezuela’s re-entry into the Inter-American human rights system, but the main meeting topic is peace with the National Liberation Army. process, which was already the first round of talks in Caracas. After a misunderstanding about a bilateral ceasefire, which the guerrillas refused to agree to, the head of the Petro-appointed negotiating team explained that the matter was still being discussed and the president arrived. In principle, negotiators plan to kick off a new round of talks in Mexico this month.
“We had an extensive and very productive meeting, which ended without statements from the presidents,” Maduro said in a message on Twitter about the discreet meeting, without going into details. “Venezuela, as a guarantor country, will support the Colombian government in its objective to end the bilateral and maintain total peace,” the joint statement said. It also announces several agreements on investment promotion and bilateral trade, and celebrates the full opening of border bridges that coincide with the New Year, including the brand new Atanasio Girardot Bridge.
Petro traveled to Caracas with Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva; Chief of Staff, Laura Sarabia; Colombia’s Ambassador to Washington, Luis Gilberto Murillo; and Commerce Minister German Umana, a key figure in the normalization of relations. Ahead of the meeting between the leaders, Colombia’s ambassador to Caracas, Armando Benedetti, met with new Venezuelan Foreign Minister Yvonne Gil, who was named the day before with a new president of the PDVSA, the two main threats to Maduro in the international arena. Post.
The two countries are also pushing for new energy deals so that they can operate without being subject to US sanctions. As EL PAÍS reported, Ecopetrol, the Colombian state oil company, has requested permission from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), known as the Clinton list, to do business with PDVSA.
From his first days in the Casa de Nariño, Petro has placed Colombian diplomacy at the service of total peace, with which he has been pursuing the peace deal with the FARC with greater determination, negotiations with the ELN and a policy of submission for criminals. intends to Group. These renewed efforts also underlie a “gradual normalization” of relations with Venezuela after years of irreconcilable differences. It has been a staple of active Colombian diplomacy under the watchful eye of Washington.
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Colombia’s president, who met with Maduro for the first time on November 1, insisted that Chavismo return to the negotiating table with the opposition in Mexico and in regional organizations, primarily the Inter-American Human Rights, for Venezuela. Access is a priority. rights system.
In addition to Maduro, Petro is embarking on an intensive program of visits and meetings with various Latin American leaders. On Sunday he will travel to Chile to meet Gabriel Boric and attend the inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, two partners with whom he wishes to cement a new progressive axis. He was in Mexico in November with Andres Manuel López Obrador and also plans to attend the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit in Buenos Aires this month.
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