Colombia says it respects Venezuela’s decision to close borders
Colombia said on Friday said it respected Venezuela’s `sovereign decision’ to close its borders for three days, calling for the arrest of those who attacked Venezuelan troops on Wednesday which triggered the closure.
“Wednesday’s incident in which, unfortunately, three Venezuelan soldiers were injured in an attack by these smuggling mafias, caused an immediate reaction within the Colombian Police,” Colombia’s Foreign Minister, Maria Holguin, told newsmen.
On Wednesday, Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, ordered the border crossing point with Colombia be closed for 72 hours.
The order especially involved the area of San Antonio del Tachira and Urena, in Venezuela’s northwestern state of Tachira where the incident took place.
“There was communication between the commander of the Venezuelan Guard and the commander of the Colombian Guard”.
Subsequently, Colombia immediately enhanced its border security on its side to prevent the criminals from entering the country, said Holguin.
After closing the border, Maduro on Thursday ordered Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, to hold an urgent meeting with Colombia’s foreign ministry.
Holguin is scheduled to meet with Rodriguez on Sept. 14, to discuss bilateral agenda and border closure.
The meeting is expected to map out strategies for capturing those responsible for the ambush against two young lieutenants from the Venezuelan National Guard (GNB), one sergeant from the Army and one civilian.
They were ambushed when trying to arrest smugglers who allegedly had a large amount of merchandise to be moved to Colombia, according to local authorities.
The victims are still in delicate condition.
The Venezuelan government has accused the Colombian opposition, headed by senator and former president, Alvaro Uribe, of being behind a plan to destabilise the country.