Colombia demanded that Russia guarantee that the country’s weapons that reach Venezuela through military cooperation do not end up in the hands of illegal groups that commit crimes on the border or are used “to attack a country in the region or affect its stability.”
That was the axis of the meeting held on Monday night between the Russian Ambassador to Colombia, Nikolai Karlovich Tavdumadze; the vice president and chancellor Marta Lucía Ramírez; and Defense Minister, Diego Molano. The meeting was called by President Iván Duque to discuss the diplomatic tensions between the two nations that have arisen in recent weeks.
The vice president and chancellor, Marta Lucía Ramírez, indicated that they had a “very respectful” dialogue in which they “have understood the concern expressed” by Minister Molano, regarding the situation of violence on the border due to the presence of illegal groups.
Ramírez pointed out that Ambassador Nikolai Karlovich Tavdumadze was told that he is required to there is not the slightest risk that the military cooperation that has existed between Russia and Venezuela for a long time will not eventually allow any Russian military equipment to end up in the hands of illegal groups.
He stressed that the Russian ambassador guaranteed that no military cooperation from Russia to Venezuela will ever be used against Colombia. And she added that it was agreed to have fluid and respectful communication about any concern that the Colombian government has.
(In context: Duque will summon the Russian ambassador to talk about Venezuela)
In his turn, Minister Molano pointed out that “the term Russian interference was used in the journalist’s question and what I affirmed was that there were organized armed groups on the border” and that there was a mobilization of Venezuelan troops that had support and technical assistance from Russia.
He said that concern was expressed that any assistance or cooperation “would not be used against Colombia”.
The foreign minister recalled that the ambassador was asked to apply international protocols, known as the “end user certificate”, so that there is a guarantee that no equipment is used by no one other than the Venezuelan Military Forces.
When asked if they considered that the incident had been overcome, the chancellor replied: “We believe so” and warned: “We believe that in this Colombia is always attentive to prevent any of the incidents we’ve had in e he past, of overflights in Colombian airspace and things like that, are repeated”.
At the end of the meeting, the Russian ambassador said that it was a very constructive meeting and that cooperation between the two countries was discussed.
He said that it was agreed to make an effort between the parties to promote the friendly relationship that has existed for many years.
“We have covered some issues of concern that the Colombian government had” and pointed out that the Minister of Defense, Diego Molano, I assure you that his words about interference in Colombian relations were distorted and did not correspond to what he said.
“Here we have clarified the situation and we have stressed that we must talk frankly through diplomatic channels”, he added
The ambassador said that they are open to this type of exchange of opinions.
In context: The Russian Embassy launches harsh criticism of the Colombian Defense Minister)
Last Thursday the Minister of Defense, Diego Molano, affirmed that some men and units of the Bolivarian Military Force “with the support and technical assistance of Russia and Iran.”
These statements were rejected and denied by the Russian embassy in Colombia: “These irresponsible statements of the member of the Government Cabinet seem even more inappropriate in view of the meeting of President Iván Duque with the heads of accredited Diplomatic Missions that was held the same day”, questioned the embassy in a statement.
EL TIEMPO published this Sunday exclusively excerpts from the intelligence information referred to by Molano in his explosive statements. There are from testimonies from sources in Caracas to fresh photos of the permanent and large landing of Russians and Iranians in the neighboring country.
The information collected indicates that, under the supposed mission of maintaining the Sukhoi Su- 30MK2V –which fire Kh-31 anti-ship missiles–, about 68 members of the Russian army remain in Venezuela and are relieved every three months.
“They move internally in official planes, one of them with license plate 0956”, assured a human source. And he added that two of them had recently passed through Colombia.
(Also: ‘Colombia is concerned about the safety of its citizens’: Chancellor)
This is the statement from the Foreign Ministry
Bogotá, February 7.
The Vice President and Foreign Minister, Marta Lucía Ramírez, accompanied by the Minister of Defense, Diego Molano, Vice Foreign Minister Francisco Echeverri, and Ambassador Carlos Morales received tonight with the Russian ambassador, Nikolay Tavdumadze, to have a very frank conversation about the concern of the Colombian Government to guarantee the highest level of security on the border and avoid the risk that Russian cooperation, through military equipment, may end up in the hands of illegal armed groups operating on both sides of the border.
In said meeting, the Russian ambassador was also expressed the urgent need of the Colombian Government to guarantee the application of the end user certification of the military equipment that is delivered, in such a way that the same they cannot be used by third parties.
Ambassador Tavdumadze reaffirmed that his country’s cooperation in Venezuela can never be used to attack any country in the region or affect its stability.
It was agreed to preserve the diplomatic, constructive and respectful dialogue in order to increase the bilateral relationship between the two countries to achieve greater educational, cultural and commercial cooperation.