Colombia’s President-Elect Juan Manuel Santos announced Thursday that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has promised to support Colombia’s entry into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
“One of the projects that my government has is to enter the OECD … we have asked President Sarkozy for France’s support in this entry and he has very generously given it,” Santos said at a press conference in Paris, following a meeting with the French head of state.
Santos took advantage of his time in Paris to talk with OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria on the matter, prior to his meeting with Sarkozy.
The president-elect said that Colombia’s entry into the OECD is important because “it will allow us to belong to an organization where issues of development, and social and economic issues, are discussed at the highest level, which can be a useful point of reference for any country.”
Entry to the OECD requires the approval of all member states and Santos has used his first official trip to Europe to rustle up support for Colombia’s entry. Santos said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had also agreed to support Colombia’s entry when the Colombian leader met with her on Wednesday.
During their meeting Sarkozy and Santos reportedly discussed developing Colombia-France bilateral relations. Santos commented at the Paris press conference that there are three key areas in which “France can help a lot and in which we can work together.”
The first area “is one of the priorities of our economic policy” and involves the development of Colombia’s agricultural sector so that rural zones can become “an engine for our growth.”
The second is to develop infrastructure to facilitate growth in the agriculture sector, and the third is the environment, Santos said. The president-elect announced that his government “has decided to revive the environment ministry so that it plays a more proactive role on a global level.”
Santos will travel to Spain Thursday, where the president-elect will meet with King Juan Carlos I, followed by the final meeting of his European tour with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Friday.
Santos will be inaugurated on August 7.