Colombia, Venezuela to reopen border

Venezuela and Colombia have agreed to reopen pedestrian border crossings between their countries, a year after Venezuela closed the frontier in a dispute over security and smuggling.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said, he and his Venezuelan counterpart agreed to open five pedestrian crossings for 15 hours a day from Saturday.

"What we are going to do is open the border gradually," Santos told reporters after talks with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

"It will be a temporary opening schedule while we learn and adapt to the decisions so that each step we take will be accurate and positive."

Maduro said he hoped the reopening would lead to a "new frontier of peace" and "a new beginning for economic and trade relations."

Santos said they would continue discussions about opening up  the border to cargo vehicles.

He added that they were discussing the possibility of setting up Venezuelan gas stations on the Colombian side where Venezuela could sell its petrol.

At the talks in the eastern Venezuelan town of Puerto Ordaz, the leaders said they reviewed reports by their advisers on cross-border smuggling and security.

Security was the top issue at the border, Santos said. The two countries this week set up a joint initiative to fight organized crime.

Topics: Colombia , Venezuela , Juan Manuel Santos , Nicolas Maduro , Security , Smuggling
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