Fernandez mediates for Colombia & Venezuela

President Leonel Fernandez will meet today, around noon, with Foreign Relations Minister Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela as he continues to foster talks for the reconciliation of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia. Fernandez hopes a new meeting between Uribe and Chavez might be held after today’s session with Maduro.

Despite Fernandez’s optimism, on the eve of his visit to Santo Domingo, Maduro declared that the Venezuelan government considers that the normalization of relations would have to wait for after the elections in Colombia, on 30 May 2010.

“We have to wait for the results of the presidential elections in Colombia, and wait for the arrival of a new chief of state in order to go forward. Anything that can be done today should focus on creating the conditions for that moment,” said the Venezuelan foreign minister, according to a cable sent from Caracas by the EFE news agency.

Fernandez and Maduro will meet in Santo Domingo at the Presidential Palace. During the meeting, President Fernandez would tell the Venezuelan authorities about what took place during Fernandez’s visit in Colombia.

During his trip to Colombia on Friday, President Fernandez learned about the details of trade between Venezuela and Colombia. He said that this will be one of the issues that will obviously be discussed in the talks between the two countries.

The Dominican President was charged with this mission during the Rio Group Summit that met in Mexico last 22 February.

The relations between the neighboring countries reached a low point last August, when Colombia signed a military agreement with the United States, whereby Chavez froze all bi-national commerce.

In Guatemala, Fernandez attended a meeting of the governments of Central America and the Dominican Republic with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then went on to Colombia to talks with President Uribe. During the visit, the destabilizing effects of drug trafficking in the region was discussed, as well as migration reform, security, justice and climate change.

In Guatemala on Friday, Clinton admitted that the US demand is part of the problem fuelling regional drug wars and pledged more help to fight the cartels.

Present were Presidents Porfirio Lobo of Honduras, Mauricio Funes of El Salvador, Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic and Oscar Arias of Costa Rica as well as Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Panama sent its foreign minister.