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Will Chavez, Santos mend Venezuelan-Colombian ties?

08-10-2010 09:39 BJT

CARACAS, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Colombia's new President Juan Manuel Santos voiced his hope to resolve the country's diplomatic spat with Venezuela through dialogue at his inauguration on Saturday. But some experts fear the mitigation of tension between the two neighbors is temporary.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a quick response after Santos' inauguration, saying he would like to meet his new Colombian counterpart "face-to-face."

Chavez said on Sunday during his TV program "Hello, president" that he would travel to Bogota Tuesday to meet Santos, aiming at restoring bilateral relations.

"I'm sure that Venezuela and Colombia will rebuild their diplomatic relations," Miguel Angel Latouche, an expert on national management and reconciliation from the Central University of Venezuela, told Xinhua, "But it does not ensure the maintenance of dialogues, friendship and mutual-comprehension between the two countries."

The two countries have a tendency toward conflicts, he added.

According to Latouche, Venezuela and Colombia represent two kinds of political models in Latin America. The potential reasons of conflicts lie in different understanding of democracy between the two countries, which cannot be resolved by diplomatic reconciliation.

However, there are special links and basis of coexistence for the two Andean neighbors.

"We are united by the same blood despite different ideologies. The word 'war' is not in my dictionary when I think of Colombia's relations with its neighbors or any nation in the world," Santos appealed for reconciliation in his inaugural address on Saturday.

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