Colombian Foreign Minister rejects "unacceptable" statement by Spanish official

Bogotá, Jan 13 (EFE).- The Vice President and Foreign Minister of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, described this Thursday as “unacceptable” a statement that the Secretary of State for the 2030 Agenda of Spain, Enrique Santiago, made against the Colombian Government in a ceremony in Madrid with the candidate leftist presidential Gustavo Petro.

“We are concerned that there is an official of the Spanish Government, Mr. (Enrique) Santiago (…) who made some disqualifications, some very strong attacks on the Government of Colombia, which is totally unacceptable,” said Ramírez in an interview with Caracol Radio.

Santiago, who is also a deputy for United We Can and Secretary General of the Communist Party of Spain, participated last Monday in a ceremony with Petro in Madrid in which he promised all possible support for his presidential aspiration and said that Colombia is a «State “narco-paramilitary” that stops the peace agreement with the former FARC guerrilla.

“Obviously the peace agreement is being breached, nothing else could be expected from that criminal Colombian oligarchy, but peace is the only program for there to be rural reform, political and electoral reform, for there to really be substitution of crops absolutely stopped by that The narco-paramilitary state that has not allowed it, ”said Santiago on that occasion.

In this regard, Marta Lucía Ramírez recalled today that Santiago advised the FARC in the peace negotiations carried out in Havana in 2016 and added that as a member of the Spanish Government, he has disrespected Colombia.

«With Spain we have had a relationship between two nations, between two States, which has always been characterized by respect, as there should be in international relations, but when there are officials who publicly disqualify a government and offend a country , because it is what Mr. Santiago did, that does also deserve a reaction from the Government, which is what we have to raise, “he said.

The Foreign Minister stressed that Colombia always has with Spain “the greatest interest in having a solid, long-term relationship”, since they are two countries that share “such a deep, important past” and the Government cannot let that friendship be affected.

CRITICISM FOR WELCOMING PETRO

The vice president again referred to the discomfort caused by the reception that members of the Spanish Government gave in Madrid to Petro, leader of the opposition and favorite in the polls for the presidential elections next May.

«For us it is very important that this electoral debate in Colombia is truly assumed respectfully by all countries; in no way would it be good if it would eventually be interpreted that the Government of Spain is inclined to the side of a candidacy, “he said.

Last Tuesday, in a meeting with foreign correspondents, Ramírez referred to the interview that Petro had in Madrid with the Socialist leader and President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, as well as with the Second Vice President of the Government and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz , and other officials, and said that other candidates would be expected to have the same treatment.

“For us it is really strange that such a prolific agenda has been made, not only by the head of government, but by several of his ministers, with a candidate, because supposedly he is not yet a candidate, but we hope that the Spanish Government will give the same opportunities to all the candidates for the presidency of Colombia, “he said then.

The chancellor asked today that “a matter as sensitive as a political election” be handled “with the greatest care, the greatest prudence” by the other countries, and more so in the case of Spain, where there is such a large Colombian community, ” so that when they go to vote I will be more informed about all the options ».

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