WASHINGTON (CNN) – The United States and Venezuela will reinstate each others' ambassadors in the coming days, nine months after a diplomatic spat resulted in their expulsions, the State Department said Thursday.
An exchange of diplomatic notes paved the way for U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy to return to Venezuela, and for Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez Herrera to retake his post in Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.
"With (Duddy's) return, full diplomatic representation will resume," Kelly said. "This will help advance and enhance our outreach to the Venezuelan people."
The diplomatic dispute actually began in Bolivia last year, when President Evo Morales expelled the U.S. ambassador there to protest what he called American interference in his country, a claim that the State Department has denied.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expelled Duddy in September in solidarity with Bolivia, and the United States responded in kind the following day, expelling Alvarez.
The expulsions of each others' ambassadors was a low point in what has been a tense relationship between the United States and Venezuela. Chavez has accused the United States of meddling in his affairs and supporting his political opponents, and is known for making inflammatory comments against U.S. leadership. At the same time, the United States accounts for about 60 percent of Venezuela's total exports.
Nicolas Maduro Moros, Venezuela's minister for foreign affairs, confirmed in a press release that Venezuela's ambassador to the United States will immediately be reinstated.
"The Obama administration wants to have more fluid communication and to improve relations," Maduro said. "Our position on this issue is very clear, and we are ready to move forward."
Full diplomatic relations between the United States and Bolivia have not been restored.