Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks on the strong ties between Canada and Colombia
Good afternoon, good evening everyone, thank you for being here. It’s a great honour to host President Santos of Colombia in our nation’s capital today. We just wrapped up an excellent bi-lateral meeting, and we look forward to a state dinner hosted by the Governor General later this evening.
Since 1953, Canada and Colombia have enjoyed a strong and vibrant diplomatic partnership, rooted in economic cooperation and development efforts. Our countries understand the importance of full and frank dialogue in achieving progress on things like human rights, poverty reduction, and security. We also know that the way forward in the modern global economy, is through partnership. On trade, for instance, we have a truly balanced relationship facilitated by the successful Canada-Colombia free trade agreement. This agreement has been in force since August 2011, and we’ve seen tremendous benefits for both of our countries as a result.
And our efforts are not contained to our own interests. Canada and Colombia work together in advancing shared interests at organizations like the United Nations, and the organization of American States. Today, the President and I agreed on a number of measures that will advance peace and strengthen our bi-lateral relationship. Let me tell you about just a few of those measures.
First, we’ve agreed to work together to establish a bi-lateral police initiative. This effort will support post-conflict policing efforts in Colombia, and will see Canadian police providing training, capacity-building, and strategic advice to our Colombian friends. Canada is also pleased to announce that we will be deploying one of our government experts to Colombia to engage in important work alongside the office of the UN High Commissioner for human rights. These initiatives build on the substantial assistance Canada has provided in support of Colombia’s peace process.
Last week, with the aim of fostering more economic growth, business and innovation in our two countries, we participated in negotiations toward a free-trade agreement between Canada and the Pacific Alliance. Those negotiations are an excellent opportunity to establish standards for a progressive, modern agreement that will benefit everyone in both of our countries. Furthermore, we hope to strengthen our partnership in air transport through a bi-lateral agreement.
The relationship between Canada and Colombia is strong, bolstered by a dynamic Colombian-Canadian community of over 76,000 people. We understand that in working together, we can create opportunity and prosperity for our people as well as a safer, more secure world for us all.
And in closing, I want to say a few words about President Santos specifically. As a fierce advocate for peace and security, the President has been resolute in calling for justice and stability in Colombia and indeed across the region. With a long history of service to his people and to his country, we’re honoured to host him here in Canada, and we will continue to be a steadfast partner for a lasting and durable peace in Colombia.