Caracas, 29 Nov. AVN.- On Monday, sixteen months after restoring diplomatic and economic relations, Colombia and Venezuela signed thirteen new bilateral cooperation agreements including in health, science, technology, energy and culture.
These agreements broaden the scope of the two countries’ bilateral relations, which were not just restored in order to go back to usual trade, but to "provide wellbeing and prosperity for the two countries," said the president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos.
One of the agreements is a new customs regime which is aimed at giving a definite boost to commercial ties and replaces the former agreement of the Andean Community (CAN),
"Conditions are set for trade. It has been growing progressively in recent months and this should give it a definite boost. The step we are taking today was long over due," the Colombian head of state said.
The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, said that beyond bolstering the movement of products between the two countries, "We want to strengthen our friendship, trust, and policies," and transform Caracas and Bogota "into examples of governments that put their [political]differences aside so as to benefit their peoples."
President Santos highlighted that there was a "perfect complementarity" in some of the agreements endorsed on Monday with his Venezuelan counterpart, such as the supply of oil to Colombia in exchange for electric energy supplied from Colombia to Venezuelan border populations.
"We will use Venezuelan oil to generate electricity in our thermoelectric plant, which will provide electricity to about five thousand families living near the border," Santos explained, and also noted significant energy projects like the bi-national oil pipeline that will link the Venezuelan Orinoco Oil Belt with the Colombian Pacific coast.
"The project has a promising future. Where ever we have proposed the project, investors show their interest because that would link them to the world's largest proven oil reserves," Santos pointed out.
In this regard, Chavez added that the construction of the oil pipeline would also contribute to reduce the costs of transporting oil to China, to which Venezuela expects to supply one million oil barrels a day by 2014.
"How much will we save when we have the oil pipeline crossing Colombia? It’s the same case as with Japan and all of Asia," Chavez said.
The Venezuelan and Colombian governments also signed agreements for the joint exploitation of heavy oils and the expansion of bi-national gas pipeline Antonio Ricaurte to Panama and Ecuador. The latter, as a project "with a long-term vision of regional integration", as reads the document signed in Caracas.
The trans-Caribbean gas pipeline is a project that began in 2006. It links Campo Ballenas, in Colombia, with the electric power plants Rafael Urdaneta and Ramon Laguna, in Zulia state.
AVN 29/11/2011 13:29
Edited by Venezuelanalysis.com