President of Panama announces visit to Colombia to consolidate bilateral link

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  • Thu, 02/21/2019 - 10:24
  • EFE-Archivo

The president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, announced on Wednesday that he will make a working visit to Colombia in March to consolidate the "very important" relationship with that country.

"On March 19 we will be meeting with President (Iván) Duque in Colombia", said Varela, during a joint appearance before the press with his Costa Rican colleague, Carlos Alvarado, with whom he held a working meeting on Wednesday in a locality close to the common border.

Like the appointment with Alvarado, the meeting with the Colombian president seeks to consolidate the bilateral relationship and to establish the state of the same in a technical report that Varela will hand over to his successor in the presidency, which will be chosen in the general elections in next May.

For Panama, the relationship with Colombia "is very important" and the appointment of next March will serve to consolidate it in issues such as trade, security, tourism and connectivity, added the Panamanian president, in a few words that he also dedicated to the relationship with the neighboring Costa Rica.

Panama and Colombia maintain a fluid bilateral relationship, but one that has a commercial high point, due to the rates that the Andean country applies to the re-exports of footwear and textiles of the Panamanian Colon Free Zone, a conflict that they solve in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Varela has argued that the trade dispute cannot tarnish the strategic bilateral cooperation on security and fight against drug trafficking and human trafficking along the common border.

Precisely now several hundred Cuban, Haitian and African migrants have entered Panama through the border with Colombia on their way to North America, an issue that focused part of the meeting between Presidents Varela and Alvarado.

In the matter of migratory "Panama and Costa Rica are an example through the controlled lax operation. We can tell the world today that no extra-continental or regional migrant is abused by any trafficking group when it touches Panamanian or Costa Rican soil. It is a model of cooperation that has been presented to the world: the migratory transitions made with order", said Varela when installing the bilateral meeting with his colleague from Costa Rica.

In that sense, Alvarado stressed that the migratory issues have been "working very well" the governments of Panama and Costa Rica, and in the meeting on Wednesday the idea is to "deepen that collaboration, for the security" of both countries.


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