Pope Francis asks Venezuela and Colombia to settle their conflict with spirit of solidarity
Pope Francis has waded into the diplomatic crisis between Colombia and Venezuela. His remarks came during the Angelus prayer, as he spoke before thousands of pilgrims.
"In these days the bishops of Venezuela and Colombia have met to examine together the painful situation that has been created at the border between these two countries. I see in this encounter a clear sign of hope. I invite everyone, in particular the beloved Venezuelan and Colombian peoples, to pray, so that, with a spirit of solidarity and fraternity, the current difficulties can be overcome.â?
Some 7,500 people were forced to abandon their homes on August 19th, when Venezuela's president closed the main border crossing between the two countries. He also deported the Colombians who lived in the area.
He said the closing was meant to fight contraband, kidnapping, drug-trafficking, and other crimes.
Following the Pope's remarks, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called for a face to face meeting between his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos.