World Bulletin / News Desk
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos named close ally Federico Renjifo as energy and mining minister on Thursday in part of a Cabinet shuffle as the leader begins pursuing a peace process with FARC rebels.
Renjifo replaces Mauricio Cardenas, who was appointed last week to head the Finance Ministry. Renjifo, an economist and lawyer, previously served as interior minister.
As Santos moves toward possible formal peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Renjifo will likely become part of a discussion of how royalties from oil and mining companies are distributed throughout the nation.
Santos announced on Monday that exploratory conversations with the FARC were under way. The group has complained that foreign companies benefit from the land at the expense of poor Colombians.
Renjifo will preside over an oil and mining boom that has helped bring in record foreign investment in the past few years as a U.S.-backed military offensive against insurgent groups improved security in key exploration areas.
"This is a ministry that's moving in the right direction, where there are some important decisions to be made and policies that need to be implemented," Santos said at the presidential palace after naming Renjifo, who also has served on the board of state oil company Ecopetrol.
"He is someone that has been involved in the energy sector for many years and he takes over at a very important time for this (economic) locomotive," Santos added.
The government has said the $330 billion economy could attract as much as $17 billion in foreign direct investment this year, up from $13.2 billion in 2011.Last Mod: 31 Ağustos 2012, 09:05