The Venezuelan and Colombian border officially reopened on Saturday, signaling a warming of relations between Caracas and Bogota after President Nicolas Maduro was forced to formally close the border a year ago due to smugglers and paramilitary groups operating in the area.
Maduro announced the reopening on Thursday, alongside his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos.
In a press conference following the meeting, Santos confirmed the reopening would start onSaturday, Aug. 13, and would enable communitiesliving close to the border to travel in and out of the neighboring countries.
“We will issue a border document for residents, but also to control who enters and who exits the country,” said Santos.
The Colombian president also announced the creation of a binational center to combat transnational crime at the border. Both countries agree to maintain a permanent exchange of information to reinstate bilateral trade, and begin electronic controls for transportation.
President Maduro met Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia in the Venezuelan cityof Puerto Ordaz along with members of their diplomatic missions. The foreign ministers of both countries will now meet on August 23 to discuss gas supplies from Venezuela to Colombia.
President Maduro also announced that Venezuela is ready “for a new phase of gasoline in that area of the border, let’s try new formulas, and let’s be ready to sell gasoline.”
The border between Venezuela and Colombia was closed on Aug. 19, 2015 after an attack on Venezuelan military forces by paramilitary groups.