President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday described a recent visit to the US as “very productive.”
The head of state appeared at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, accepted the Woodrow Wilson award for public service on Thursday and held meetings with businessmen and president’s of the Pacific Alliance, a trade group consisting of Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Chile, throughout the week.
“We met with many head’s of state, had a bilateral meeting with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and met up with the former mayor of New York,” explained Santos when asked about his visit.
Furthermore, the head of state explained that he spoke to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon regarding the country’s maritime border dispute with Nicaragua.
Earlier this month, Nicaragua filed a new lawsuit against Colombia in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to define borders between the two countries in the Caribbean sea, including potentially lucrative offshore oil fields.
The ICJ previously ruled on a separate lawsuit between the two nations, granting 30,000 square miles of Colombian territorial waters to Nicaragua. But President Juan Manuel Santos has continually rejected the ruling, insisting that it is inapplicable without a bilateral treaty.
“We expressed our concern about the attitude of Nicaragua that is generating all sorts of problems in the Caribbean Sea,” said Santos. “They virtually want to expand their territory up to Cartagena and in the process, engulf other country’s borders.”
“Therefore, both Panama and Costa Rica have both openly expressed in their speeches at the UN, their rejection of that claim,” stressed the head of state.
Santos also referred to conversations he had with President’s of the Pacific Alliance, and confirmed that 92% of products have zero tariffs on trade between the four nations.
“The Pacific Alliance was really interesting because of the interest generated by the alliance with international entrepreneurs, not solely Americans,” explained Santos.
The president also met with the Prime Minister of Norway, thanking him for the support his nation have shown during the ongoing peace negotiations between the Colombian government and rebel group FARC. Norway is a guarantor of the talks.
Rebel group FARC and the government have been involved in peace talks since November in order to seek a negotiated end to the internal conflict.
While an accord has been reached regarding land reform, no agreements have been made on the issue of the FARC’s political participation, drug trafficking, the practicalities of the end of the armed conflict and the rights of the victims.