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Venezuela, Panama to Restore Envoys and Resume Airline Service


FILE - Venezuelan National Guards stand by a counter of Copa Airlines, at the Simon Bolivar airport in Caracas, Venezuela, April 6, 2018.

Venezuela and Panama will restore ambassadors and allow for the resumption of airline service, turning the page on a diplomatic dispute between the two countries, they said Thursday.

Venezuela this month cut commercial ties with a group of Panamanian officials and companies, including regional airline Copa, for alleged involvement in money laundering, prompting both countries to recall ambassadors.

The two governments said in a joint statement that they would send back their respective ambassadors, "re-establish air connectivity" and "maintain an open and respectful diplomatic dialogue."

Copa, which has become a crucial provider of international flights following a sharp reduction in airline services to crisis-stricken Venezuela, did not answer phone calls seeking comment.

Venezuela had accused Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and nearly two dozen cabinet ministers and top-ranking officials of involvement in money laundering.

That came a week after Panama declared Maduro and some 50 Venezuelan nationals "high-risk" suspects for laundering money and financing terrorism.

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