“Former President Kirchner was a person that contributed much to the relations we have today,” Santos said from a meeting in Bogota. “Recently I had the opportunity to strike up a good friendship with him. He was always ready to do his bit to improve our relations with the whole region.”
The Colombian president called for a moment of silence in memory of the Argentine politician, whose wife currently holds the presidency.
Kirchner, 60, died suddenly Wednesday morning of a heart attack. The former president underwent an angioplasty after he suffered a heart attack in September.
Santos said he has tried to reach President Cristina Kirchner to offer his condolences. Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman is currently on his way to Colombia but is expected to immediately catch a return flight to Argentina, according to Santos.
The Argentine politician was the current secretary general of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and played a role in moderating disputes between Colombia and neighboring Venezuela.
Kirchner was president of Argentina from 2003 until 2007 and was expected to be a candidate in next year’s presidential elections. His death is expected to affect his wife’s ability to maintain political power.