The incoming Colombian president visited the government palace in Peru’s capital Lima as part of a Latin American Tour, which has so far taken him to Mexico, Panama, Chile, Costa Rica and Argentina.
Santos told reporters, ” I hope that the friendship (which unites Colombia and Peru) can be the common denominator for all other countries because that is the way that two countries can and must fight together for common goals.”
The Colombian leader was received by an honorary column of the presidential guards in the main courtyard of the government building, whilst a band of national policeman sang the Peruvian and Colombian national anthems. Santos spent two hours talking to Peruvian President Alan Garcia over lunch before holding a brief press conference.
Santos was full of praise for Garcia’s economic policy and told press of plans to co-ordinate stock exchanges in Bogota, Lima, and the Chilean capital of Santiago, with the goal of creating “the most important capital market in South America.”
The leader went on to describe himself as “a president who loves Peru,” and expressed conviction that the two countries “will work together for a long time.”
Garcia, who ends his term next year, appeared to hold similarly positive views concerning binational relations.
“With Colombia we are willing to work together, united in political issues, hemispheric issues and, of course, in our deepening economic relationship,” he said.
Garcia also said he hoped for a speedy resolution to the current crisis with Venezuela. The Peruvian president has himself had bitter clashes with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez during his 2006 presidential campaign but told press that with Santos’ “tact, sensitivity and intelligence” in diplomatic matters, “the water will level again in no time.”
During the official visit, Santos also announced the appointment of current defense minister Gabriel Silva as Colombia’s new ambassador to the U.S. and expressed hopes the his new U.S-representative “will have the best relations with Peru to promote co-operation on this front.”
On Friday Santos will pay an official visit to Leonal Fernandez, President of the Dominican Republic, before winding up his tour with a visit to Haiti on Saturday.