Published On: Tue, Sep 22nd, 2015

Colombia and Venezuela open dialogue in border conflict

colombia_venezuela_conflictQUITO - Colombia and Venezuela have agreed to re-engage in a dialogue and to normalize the situation around the border again. The two countries have been embroiled in a month long border dispute.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived Monday evening (local time) in Quito, capital of Ecuador.

It was the first time the two leaders met since the conflict erupted on August 19th. Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador led the discussions that took about five hours.

Afterwards Santos described the talks as "calm, respectful and productive." Maduro said that "common sense had prevailed".

The nations also pledged "immediate return" of their ambassadors. The presidents called the ambassadors from each other's countries back when tensions grew.

Tensions between the two countries strongly increased recently, after Maduro had closed the border crossings last month and expelled some 1,300 Colombians from the country because of smuggling and other crimes.

According to the United Nations some 16,000 Colombians had to leave Venezuela. Maduro says he expelled Colombians because of crime, but critics say the president's actions was to mask the poor economic situation of his country.

Last week two military planes from Venezuela flew without permission within the airspace of Colombia.

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