Royal couple arrive in Colombia

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Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to Colombia has generated real excitement in the nation, Britain’s ambassador said as the royal couple arrived in Bogota.

Charles and Camilla’s chartered plane touched down in the Colombian capital and their four-day tour began with a low-key welcome ahead of today’s ceremonial greeting with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos.

Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby, the British ambassador, and his wife Barbara shook hands with the royal couple and their entourage as they walked down the steps of the aircraft that had landed at a military airport.

The prince and his wife have been looking forward to their trip to Colombia which aims to strengthen relations between the UK and the Latin American country.

Colombia is emerging from decades of violent civil conflict that blighted the nation’s prospects and as its stability strengthens its role in the region and the world will increase.

The threat from armed guerrilla groups and drug cartels has decreased and the ambassador said the improved security situation had made a royal visit possible, something that would not have been sanctioned ten years ago.

Mr Croisdale-Appleby said: “I have a lot of contact obviously with the Santos government and contact more broadly with Colombians and there’s a very palpable degree of excitement about the visit. There’s a great enthusiasm to get to know Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.”

The royal couple will also travel at the weekend to Mexico where they will spend a further four days touring the nation.

Their trip includes visits to Colombia’s Caribbean influenced city of Cartagena, with its picturesque colonial quarter, and to the Macarena National Park in the south of the country.

The prince and duchess’ deputy private secretary Simon Martin has set out the themes of the visit: “The programme will highlight and promote the partnership that already exists between Britain and both Colombia and Mexico in areas including sustainability and combating climate change, expanding trade and investment, creating opportunities for young people, responsible business, historical and cultural links and supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

“Also, we’ll highlight defence links and the fight against drugs and crime.”

On Friday in Cartagena, whose old town is a Unesco world heritage site, Charles and the Colombian president will both address a conference, staged in a Naval Museum, examining the health of the oceans.

The event has been organised by the Presidential Co-operation Agency and the Prince’s International Sustainability Unit, and will promote sustainability in the development of marine economies.

Charles and Camilla will end their visit to Colombia with a sunset ceremony on board HMS Argyll, which will be moored in Cartagena.

The Prince, who was a naval officer on his last visit to Colombia in 1974, will take part in this ceremony as the Admiral of the Fleet.

Today they will receive an official welcome from President Santos and his wife Marcia at the Palacio de Narino in Bogota.

During the day Charles will visit a vocational skills school while Camilla and the First Lady will visit an arts and craft school.

The royal couple will be reunited to tour an organic and urban sustainability fair at the British Ambassador’s residence in Bogota, and in the evening the president will host a banquet in their honour.

Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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