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Colombian soldiers stand guard near the Simon Bolivar International Bridge, in Cucuta, Colombia, on June 17.SCHNEYDER MENDOZA/AFP/Getty Images

Colombian President-elect Gustavo Petro, who won the country’s presidential election on Sunday, and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro discussed re-establishing normal relations at the border between the two countries, both leaders said on Wednesday.

Relations between Colombia and its neighbour have been strained during the four-year administration of incumbent Colombian President Ivan Duque, who accuses Maduro’s government of harbouring criminals, something the Socialist leadership in Caracas denies.

The border has been partially closed in recent years and is currently largely open only to pedestrian traffic, amid bilateral tensions and COVID.

“We discussed willingness to restore normality at the borders,” Maduro said in a message on Twitter, a few hours after Petro published his own message saying the same thing.

Re-establishing relations with Venezuela was one of Petro’s key foreign policy proposals during his presidential campaign.

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