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Colombia and Venezuela seek to mend ties

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Colombia and Venezuela seek to mend ties


Colombia’s new president Juan Manuel Santos and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez meet in Bogota today as the Andean neighbours seek to put recent differences behind them.

Despite saying they want a fresh start, some on the streets of the Colombian capital remain doubtful.

‘‘Chavez is crazy. At any time he’ll use something else to discredit Colombia or the government or anything that doesn’t go along with his plan,’‘ one man said.

In the Venezuelan capital Caracas some were also sceptical that the meeting between the two leaders would yield concrete results.

‘‘I see it as being quite difficult, not that they should fight but there are a lot of important things they have to work out,’‘ one woman said.

Immediately after taking office on Saturday Santos put out feelers to re-establish ties, with trade and peace being touted.

But, ideologically, the two are poles apart. Even the conservative Santos has said he and the Venezuelan president are like ‘oil and water’.

Many experts also think the two will struggle to get back on track. Colombia continues to accuse Chavez of complicity with FARC guerrilla’s, while Bogota’s close relations with the US still remain a major source of tension.

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