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Colombian, Venezuelan leaders to meet

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Bogota, Jul 16 (EFE).- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday that he and Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro plan to meet on July 22 for a "complete review of the state of bilateral relations."

The Colombian president announced on Twitter the date of the meeting that has been hoped for since relations between Colombia and Venezuela became entangled in a new period of difficulties last May.

Colombia's foreign minister, Maria Angela Holguin, acknowledged Monday that bilateral relations are "a little cold, but we're talking."

On May 29, Santos received in Bogota the leader of the Venezuelan opposition, Henrique Capriles, who did not accept Maduro's victory in the April 14 elections.

Tensions got worse when Santos announced he was open to closer ties with NATO and criticized the Maduro government for claiming that a plot was being hatched in Colombia by a Venezuelan opposition planning to invade Caracas with 18 fighter jets purchased in the United States.

Later the two sides called for talks and the respective foreign ministers met at the last General Assembly of the Organization of American States, or OAS, in Guatemala, Holguin said Monday.

Diplomatic ties were also strained during the 2006-2010 second term of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who accused Venezuela's then-leader, the late Hugo Chavez, of sheltering guerrillas from Colombia.

After taking office in 2010, Santos agreed with Chavez to restore and normalize bilateral relations, which then remained stable until last May.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/agencia-efe/130716/colombian-venezuelan-leaders-meet