Colombian president-elect seeks better ties with Chile

17:19, July 27, 2010      

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Visiting Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos met in Santiago Monday with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in an effort to enhance bilateral ties.

At a press conference afterwards, Santos said he appreciated "the friendship without limits" between Colombia and Chile and urged the region to "collaborate on issues of education and security defense."

Colombia should learn from Chile's efficient national defense system, said the Colombian leader, who once served as defense minister.

He said the two countries made great achievements in their commercial integration, and there is a need to "look into the whole Asia Pacific for the future development potential of this region."

The president-elect pledged to beef up public safety and crack down on drug-trafficking and terrorism after he takes office early next month.

For his part, Pinera said Colombia is important for Chile as it is the fourth-largest recipient of Chilean investments and "there are fraternal ties and sincere friendship between the two nations."

But he declined to comment on an ongoing diplomatic dispute between Colombia and Venezuela.

Caracas cut off ties with Bogota last week after the latter accused it of hosting Colombian guerilla chiefs on its soil and requested the Organization of American States (OAS) to investigate.

Santos is considered more conciliatory towards Venezuela than current President Alvaro Uribe, whose presidency has witnessed a further decline in relations with Colombia.

Source: Xinhua


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