Juan Manuel Santos, Columbia’s President made his first official trip to Canada. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Columbian President expressed his gratitude to the Canadians for the support they displayed during the restoration of peace in his country.
“I came here to … thank the prime minister and the Canadians for all the help that we have received in this difficult peace process in the last years,” said Santos.
As he made way to the Rideau Hall in Ottawa, President Santos was met with a heavy rainstorm. The unruly weather led to indoor honour guard and official welcome ceremonies for Santos.
The Columbian President was received by Governor General Julie Payette.
In a comment made on the rain and storm that drenched Ottawa, the President said it’s “water from the heavens” sent down to bless the “matrimonial relationship” between Columbia and Canada.
Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize last year as recognition of his efforts to end the civil war going on in Columbia for almost half a century.
The President was quick to acknowledge the efforts of friendly nations like Canada and others that proved instrumental in upholding the momentum of peace talks during the process.
In addition to expressing deep gratitude, Santos took the opportunity to communicate his wishes of strengthening the socio-economic relations between Columbia and Canada. He also thanked the Canadian people in assisting with the education of his countrymen.
There was a free trade agreement signed between Canada and Columbia, back in 2008. However, due to the unstable political and economic standing of Columbia, there were no formal negotiations done to reach a mutually beneficial deal between the countries.
This month, both Canada and Columbia hope to kick start the formal negotiation process to accomplish a trade deal that also includes other countries like Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia as part of the Pacific Alliance trading bloc.