Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela did not dismiss today to meet with his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro, in an attempt to solve the recent bilateral crisis, which includes the suspension of the air connection between both countries and the withdrawal of their respective ambassadors.
"The heads of state are always in the different events held in the world; this is a specific issue and President Maduro has to avoid affecting the population of Panama, Venezuela and the region (.. .) In public life, talking is always an option," said Varela.
This was Panamanian president response during an event held in the interior of the country to the question of whether he would meet with Maduro, who this week said publicly that he was willing to hold a meeting with Varela to solve the “bilateral” problems.
"There are political differences, especially with the elections of May 20," in which Maduro seeks re-election and Panama will not recognize it, "but citizens of our countries must be our number one priority without affecting them," said Varela.
"More than one million Venezuelans are living in countries near Venezuela and use Panama's air connectivity to see their families," the Panamanian president recalled.
The beginning of diplomatic disputes goes back to March 28 when Panama asked the banks located in the country to intensify the financial supervision over 55 politically exposed Venezuelans, including Maduro, for being considered "high risk" in terms of money laundering.
The Venezuelan government announced in retaliation a few days later the rupture of commercial relations for 90 days renewable with a hundred Panamanian companies, including Copa Airlines, one of the few international airlines that continued operating in Venezuela and that suspended operations on April 6.
Panama responded by announcing the suspension, as of April 25 and for 90 days renewable, of passenger and cargo transportation activities of Venezuelan airlines in Panamanian territory. (With information from EFE)