Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner met this week with both sides of the simmering dispute between Colombia and Venezuela. Colombia has alleged that the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) is operating out of bases on the Venezuelan side of the border, and in response, President Hugo Chávez has cut off all diplomatic relations with the Uribe government.
On Monday, Kirchner saw Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos, who is visiting heads of state in Latin America before his August 7 inauguration. The two leaders pledged to work to “strengthen the Latin American union,” according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Acknowledging the Colombia-Venezuela schism directly, Kirchner also said, “We’re trying to establish a dialogue, very quietly, with great patience but with the strong will that Argentina and the rest of the region will always contribute to peace.”
Then just before lunch today, Fernández de Kirchner received Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro at the presidential residence. Following the meeting, Maduro thanked the Argentine President and praised her role as mediator, saying, “The only solution to this conflict is peace.”
On Thursday, the region’s foreign ministers will meet in Ecuador to discuss the dispute, under the auspices of UNASUR, the organization of South American countries.