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UK to welcome President Santos for Colombia State Visit.

President of Colombia to begin Colombia’s first ever state visit to the UK.

The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos de Calderon, will begin Colombia’s first ever state visit to the UK on Tuesday, as an official guest of Her Majesty The Queen.

On Tuesday, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will formally welcome President Santos at the Royal Pavilion on Horse Guards Parade with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Home Secretary in attendance.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister will host the President at 10 Downing Street for a working lunch, and the President will also attend events at Mansion House, the Natural History Museum and the London School of Economics. The Foreign Secretary will take the President on a private tour of the Cabinet War Rooms. To mark the occasion of the State Visit, the Coca Cola London Eye will be lit up in yellow, blue and red – the colours of the Colombian flag – on the evenings of Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd November.

The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, said:

We are delighted to welcome President Santos to the UK. Britain works hand-in-hand with Colombia on the world stage whenever the occasion demands.

We have an important national interest in the security and prosperity of Colombia, and we look forward to forging new links in science, education and research, while reinforcing the traditional friendship between our two peoples through increased tourism.

Colombia is on the verge of a historic peace agreement and through our ongoing support for the country the UK is well-placed to take advantage of the opportunities that will follow. We will continue to support President Santos and the people of Colombia as they work to secure lasting peace.

As we leave the EU, Britain remains a bold and outward-looking nation, and we are forging a new global role and taking advantage of economic and diplomatic opportunities in the wider world, beyond Europe.

Colombia holds huge potential for British investors in areas ranging from health care to transport, defence and energy, and I hope that the State Visit will help to open up these opportunities.

The President, who has been leading Colombia’s peace process, will travel to Belfast on Thursday to hear first-hand about Northern Ireland’s experience of peace-building, and the benefits that peace and political progress has brought for community relations and efforts to build a stronger economy.

The UK has strong ties with Colombia and a longstanding relationship built over more than 200 years. The two countries work closely on a range of issues, including trade and investment, security, defence, and climate change. Trade between Colombia and the UK was worth £1 billion last year, and continues to grow.

The UK also works closely with Colombia’s law enforcement agencies to tackle the threat of drug trafficking and serious organised crime – issues that affect people in the UK too.

Colombia is emerging from the longest-running internal conflict in the Western hemisphere. The UK has played a central role in supporting Colombia’s peace process. Peace will benefit not only Colombia and the surrounding region, but will create opportunities to further expand the bilateral relationship between Colombia and the UK.

President Santos recently received the Nobel Peace Prize, recognizing his continued efforts to secure peace.

He will be accompanied during the visit by his wife, Maria Clemencia Rodriguez de Santos.

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