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Spain, Colombia Seek To Strengthen Eu-Latin America Ties

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez played host to Colombian leader Gustavo Petro on Thursday at his official residence in the Palacio de la Moncloa in Madrid.

The meeting took place on the second day of Petro’s state visit to Spain, which is partly to prepare for the forthcoming talks between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union (EU) in June, and the next CELAC meeting due to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July, shortly after Spain has taken over the six-month Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Sanchez commented that the meeting between the EU and CELAC (the first since 2015) showed “the importance of the Latin American region having its own international voice,” and he said Spain would continue supporting efforts for total peace in Petro’s country.

“Spain is an accompanying country in the dialogue process and will continue to support and strengthen the needs of this peace process by contributing 1 million euros (1.1 million U.S. dollars) in 2023,” he said at a press conference after the meeting.

A financial protocol between the two ministries of commerce and tourism was signed. Sanchez promised to “make 1 billion euros (1.1 billion U.S dollars) available through different cooperation instruments to finance projects in priority sectors.”

Sanchez said that Spain and Colombia had agreed to cooperate in combating the climate emergency.

Petro said he expected the forthcoming EU-CELAC meeting to find “common ground” for investment and explained that Spanish companies have already invested 28,000 million U.S. dollars in Colombia, which has “not been due to speculation but to allow real capital growth in the country.”

The Colombian leader also presented a proposal to exchange debt for climate action. “If this takes off, Colombia has a lot to gain,” Petro commented.

On Wednesday, Petro addressed a joint session of the Spanish Congress and Senate and made an appeal for unity between Latin America and Europe to help combat the climate crisis. 

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