Mérida, October 8th 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Yesterday joint Colombia-Venezuela commissions as well as the foreign ministers from each country met in the border city of Cucuta, Colombia to renew and concretise agreements after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and recently elected Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos renewed relations between the countries in August.
Venezuela ended diplomatic relations in July when the outgoing government of Colombia accused it of protecting guerrillas.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said that Venezuela and Colombia will carry out a plan of fuel supply for the border populations of both countries, and will create a new commission for this. They will also create a working team to promote the interchange of experiences between Venezuela’s state owned oil company PDVSA, and Colombia’s one, Ecopetrol, and study the possibility of the two state companies cooperating in a project on Venezuela’s Orinoco Oil Belt.
Maduro said they also discussed the proposal of the transoceanic gas pipeline, and the construction of a “poliduct”, which transports various types of hydrocarbons, such as petrol, crude oil, and gas, that would connect Venezuela with the Pacific Ocean. “It is a strategic project for both countries and for all of South America,” Maduro said.
The ministers and commissions also discussed the situation of electricity along the border, and Colombian foreign minister Maria Holguin said that the electricity supplies from Puerto Inirida, Colombia, to San Fernando in Amazonas state, Venezuela, will be ready in six months, if the Venezuelan government approves it.
Further, both governments agreed to construct a bridge on the border with Colombia and Tachira state, Venezuela. They will be carrying out investment studies on the project until December, then Holguin estimated that construction will begin in January next year and finish in 2012.
They also want to re-establish pedestrian crossings in two other border points, and to discuss an agreement that would regulate transportation of merchandise by road. A lot of informal trade between Venezuela and Colombia is conducted by land border crossings.
Maduro also announced that the Venezuelan government had approved a total of US$ 98 million in foreign currency for the payment of debt to Colombian companies.
The defence ministers of both countries, as well as coast guard and air force representatives, will meet on 20 October to re-launch the anti-narcotics cooperation agreement established between both nations in 1994. The presidents of both countries will evaluate and approve all the projects discussed.
We have decided to, “Begin a new path with a new productive and constructive agenda, based on respect and permanent communication,” Maduro said.
He said the two governments had a “good pace” working together on subjects that “generate trust”.
“We are very committed to strengthening the integration of the two countries. Each country has huge strong points, if we work together we will be a great power,” said Holguin.
After Venezuela severed diplomatic ties in July, Santos was sworn in as the new president at the start of August, and Chavez and Santos met on 10 August to renew relations. They agreed to create five commissions that would advance bilateral relations between the two countries. Those commissions then met yesterday.