President of Columbia and recent winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, visits Northern Ireland

East Antrim MLA and Executive Office Minister Alastair Ross has met with President Santos of Columbia during his one day State visit to Northern Ireland
East Antrim MLA and Executive Office Minister Alastair Ross has met with President Santos of Columbia during his one day State visit to Northern Ireland

The Nobel Peace Prize winner was keen to learn from local politicians in a bid towards achieving a more peaceful country, as he continues efforts to end one of the world’s longest-running civil wars.

The meeting took place during his one day State visit to Northern Ireland.

Proud RAF Awssociation Members displaying their Trophies and Wings Appeal 2016 cheque for �40,000 - together with their Sergeant Teddy Mascot.

Proud RAF Awssociation Members displaying their Trophies and Wings Appeal 2016 cheque for �40,000 - together with their Sergeant Teddy Mascot.

Mr Ross held his meeting with the President at Stormont Castle alongside First Minister Arlene Foster.

He then joined the Belfast Lord Mayor Brian Kingston, Junior Minister Megan Fearon and North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds to welcome the President to Girdwood Community Hub.

Commenting, Mr Ross said: “It was a great privilege to meet President Santos and we were delighted that he took the time to visit Northern Ireland.

“In addition to talking about trade opportunities the President was keen to learn more about the work of the Executive Office in bringing young people from different communities together through the T:BUC strategy.

“President Santos was also keen to listen to our experience of moving towards a more peaceful country and what lessons Columbia could learn from Northern Ireland.

“I wish him well in his efforts to reach an agreed settlement in Columbia and hope that we can have a prosperous and productive relationship in future years.”

The visit comes shortly after Mr Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end one of the world’s longest-running civil wars, and pledged to donate his prize money to the victims of the conflict. President Santos also visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace, marking the first time a state visit to the UK has been carried out by a Colombian president.