Pope Francis said today that the bishops’ meeting about the situation at the border between Venezuela and Colombia is a "clear sign of hope."

The Pope said this today after praying the midday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, in reference to the conflict that has arisen over Colombians who travel to or live in Venezuela, and the trade, both legal and black market, between the two nations.

"In these days," the Pope said, "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 spirt of solidarity and fraternity, the current difficulties can be overcome."

On Aug. 19, Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolás Maduro suddenly closed the border between the two nations, which had previously been open both for the easy crossing of people and goods. The United Nations reports that since then, some 16,000 Colombians have either left or been deported from Venezuela.

Maduro is saying that the Colombian immigrants are the cause of the rampant crime and economic difficulties plaguing Venezuela.