Venezuela, Colombia agree to reestablish embassies from August 7

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Venezuela and Colombia will reestablish diplomatic relations at an ambassadorial level when leftist president-elect Gustavo Petro takes office in Bogota on August 7, representatives of the South American neighbors said Thursday.

Relations between the two countries were broken in 2019 after Colombian President Ivan Duque refused to recognize the reelection of his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro.

Duque instead backed the claim of opposition leader Juan Guaido to be Venezuela's acting president.

Colombia was one of around 60 countries to do so, having rejected Venezuela's 2018 presidential election that was boycotted by the opposition.

Venezuela's minister of foreign relations Carlos Faria hosted Colombia's foreign minister-elect Alvaro Leyva in San Cristobal, the capital of Tachira state on the border between the two countries.

Leyva read out a statement saying that both men had "expressed their desire to progress on a work agenda towards the gradual normalization of bilateral relations from August 7 by naming ambassadors and diplomatic and consular officials."

Petro, Colombia's first ever elected left-wing president, had said on the campaign trail that he would reestablish diplomatic relations with Venezuela once in office.

Embassies and consulates in both countries were closed, and flights between the neighbors grounded.

Even the land border between the two countries was closed between 2019 and October 2021.

Maduro regularly accuses Duque of being part of supposed plans to topple him, while the conservative president claims his Venezuelan counterpart is harboring Colombian rebels that carry out attacks on his security forces.

On Thursday, Colombia's police force claimed a former guerrilla hiding in Venezuela had offered more than $1.5 million as a reward for the assassination of Duque.

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