Colombian president in Belfast after peace collapse

Juan Manuel Santos, whose country recently rejected a peace deal sees benefits of 18 years' calm in Northern Ireland

Colombian president in Belfast after peace collapse

World Bulletin / News Desk

Northern Ireland’s peace process offers hope to people caught in conflict around the world, First Minister Arlene Foster said Thursday after welcoming Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

“Bogota may be many miles from the Bogside but our journey to peace offers a beacon of hope to people around the world of what can be achieved,” Foster said, according to a statement from the Executive Office.

The Bogside is a neighborhood of Londonderry, Northern Ireland’s second city, that was the focus of many clashes between pro-British unionists and Irish nationalists during the 1968-98 Troubles.

Santos’s visit came on the heels of a plebiscite vote that rejected the terms of peace deal aimed at ending 52 years of conflict between Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government.

The president, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in brokering the deal, was in Northern Ireland to discuss trade but will have been heartened to see the results of the 1998 Good Friday agreement that largely brought peace to Northern Ireland.

Foster said the Colombian peace process was a “significant priority for their government and I know many organizations and people across Northern Ireland have helped in nudging forward the path to peace.

“It is a challenging path but one worth travelling.”

Santos met Prime Minister Theresa May in London to sign trade deals before travelling to Belfast.

Last Mod: 03 Kasım 2016, 18:18
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