Colombia president Santos set for European tour

23rd January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos flies to Europe on an official trip Sunday, with stops in France and at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The three-day trip to France officially begins Monday in Paris. Santos is scheduled to be in Davos on Thursday.

In France Santos, who took office in August, will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The Colombian leader, who has a doctorate in economics, will be the main speaker on a panel focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Santos is seeking to increase ties with Europe, Asia and the rest of Latin America so it does not have to be so reliant on the United States.

On the sidelines of the Davos forum, Santos is set to have bilateral meetings with South African President Jacob Zuma and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, among other leaders, government officials said.

Colombia, forecast to post economic growth of between 4.5 and five percent in 2011, is the second most important market in South America for the European Union after Brazil.

Colombia also occupies one of the rotating seats on the United Nations Security Council.

The president's delegation includes Foreign Affairs Minister Maria Angela Holguin, Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry, and Commerce, Industry and Trade Minister Sergio Diaz-Granados.

© 2011 AFP

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