While Everyone Else Was Praying: Peace Process Foes Uribe and Pastrana Meet Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago (S)
The President of the US, Donald Trump, welcomed on Good Friday Colombian former presidents Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana to the Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida. First to speak publicly about the meeting was Mr. Pastrana, who thanked in his Twitter the magnate for, “the cordial and very frank conversation.” Sources of the meeting, however, have confirmed to El País the presence of Mr. Uribe who has described it as a “social gathering” that came about through an “invitation from a third party.”
They discussed “the problems and perspectives of Colombia and the region” at a key moment for the development of the peace agreements with FARC and while neighboring Venezuela, is experiencing a serious institutional crisis. Both former presidents strongly oppose the process promoted by the Government of Juan Manuel Santos and were two of the main defenders of voting ‘No’ in the referendum last October.
The meeting takes place at a time when the 2018 presidential pre-campaign has started and before Mr. Trump and Mr. Santos formally set a date for their first meeting. Both leaders spoke on the telephone on 11 February. According to the Colombian president’s office, Mr. Santos requested support from his US counterpart for Congressional approval of the Plan Peace Colombia, an initiative that was on the agenda of his predecessor, Barack Obama. The magnate expressed his interest in supporting Colombia and assured him that his team would study that plan. El País.