Santos to visit UK, Israel and Palestine

Juan Manuel Santos (Photo: President's Office)

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday will travel to the United Kingdom followed by a trip to Israel and Palestine.

Santos will visit the University of Oxford, where he will talk about social policy and fighting poverty in Colombia. The president will review programs such as the free housing project currently underway in Colombia, employment strategies and land restitution to victims of the conflict.

The Colombian president, who attended university in London, will travel to the English capital on Friday to attend a special event organized by the Financial Times, which Monday ran an article focused on Santos and his role as a peacemaker. The president will not meet with any dignitaries while in the UK.

On Sunday, Santos will travel to Israel, where he is expected to visit the city of Ramallah and the West Bank and hopes to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres to discuss agricultural projects and commercial agreements.

The Colombian premier will then meet with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Last week Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority Riad Al Malki was received in Bogota by Colombian foreign minister Maria Angela Holguin.

Colombia has so far failed to offer its support for the admission of Palestine as a member state of the United Nations and abstained from voting, but has offered to find ways to encourage a direct dialogue with Israel. Santos is expected to discuss options to move towards peace between the two states at his meetings next week.


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