Havana, Sunday 24 de September de 2017 03:34 pm

President of Colombia thanks Cuban support in the peace process

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President of Colombia thanks Cuban support in the peace processHAVANA, Cuba, Jul 17 (ACN) Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President of Colombia, said today that the objective of his current official visit to Cuba is to thank this people for their support of the Colombian peace process and to strengthen bilateral economic and trade ties.

Speaking at a business forum, held at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, the president said that "the support of the island was decisive", hosting for almost five years the negotiations between the government of that country and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army (FARC-EP).
He also emphasized the intention to consolidate trade links during this visit, the first after the signing of agreements on cease-fire and bilateral and definitive hostilities, the abandonment of arms and the guarantee of security between the government and the FARC-EP, which took place in the Cuban capital in June last year.
He recalled that as part of the economic opening of his country, started in 1990, he was in Cuba as head of the newly created Ministry of Foreign Trade, a place that allowed to lay the foundations for exploring possibilities of exchange, and mentioned that coffee was the main product identified.
Santos Calderón recalled that at that time he held talks with Commander in Chief Fidel Castro and said he was impressed that the leader of the Revolution "knew all the figures of the coffee world trade."
The Colombian president said that from that date until today some protocols have been signed, "but the exchange figures are insignificant", hence he expressed the need to take advantage of good relations between both countries, and make decisions to strengthen trade.
Colombia is very interested in investing in Cuba, he said, and highlighted the potential for the two economies to complement each other through the tourism sector.
He hoped that in the forum Colombian and Cuban entrepreneurs identify specific businesses, and said that, in that sense, it is up to governments to facilitate and create the best conditions.
Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, Cuba´s Foreign Trade and Investment Minister, stressed that this visit confirms the desire to promote the ties and thanked the support of Colombia in the fight against the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba.
He stressed that in the coming weeks the third economic complementation protocol, signed in June 2016, will be in force, in which both countries granted tariff preferences to more than three thousand products.
Malmierca Díaz urged entrepreneurs to systematize contacts for a better use of this instrument, which will favor the access of the items in the respective markets and promote trade.
As part of his stay, the Colombian president will hold official talks with Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, and will carry out other activities.

 

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