Catalan president's meeting with Colombian president delayed
Aragonès sees ministers but meeting with Petro postponed due to "violent" incidents in south of country
The Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, had a meeting scheduled with the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, for 5:30 pm local time on Monday during a stop on his Latin American tour.
Yet, the session has been delayed due to a situation of "violence and public order" in Cauca department, southern Colombia, that requires Petro's attention.
Both offices said they would try to reschedule the meeting.
Sources told the Catalan News Agency that they were aiming to tackle the bilateral relationships between both nations, as well as Catalan cooperation on Colombia, and the Latin American country's peace process.
Aragonès did meet with the foreign minister, Álvaro Leyva, and the finance minister, José Antonio Ocampo.
He could also talk to Colombia's parliament speaker, David Ricardo Racero.
In comments to the press afterwards, the Catalan leader said both lands are united by a path "to achieve long-lasting peace and justice."
Racero said he wants to create a friendship group with the Catalan parliament, a proposal Aragonès pledged to pass on the chamber in Barcelona.
New government office in Colombia, 21st delegation abroad
The news broke just shortly after Aragonès announced that Catalonia would open a new delegation abroad. It will be its 21st international office and its headquarters will be in Colombia.
The government believes that with this move, they will cover almost 100% of South America.
10-day trip to South America
Aragonès began his trip to South America on Saturday and will visit not only Colombia, but Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile over ten days.
The two politicians will see each other at Colombia's presidential palace, Nariño Palace.
It is the first time Aragonès meets a foreign head of state, even though he welcomed French president Emmanuel Macron at the Spain-France summit held in Barcelona.
His successor, Quim Torra, met with several heads of state, including the president of Slovenia, Borut Pahor.
Meetings with local authorities
After meeting with the Colombian president, Pere Aragonès will remain in the country to visit some Catalan companies based in the country as well as other civil society group leaders.
During his tour, he has already praised Colombia's identification of victims of the armed conflict.
Aragonès, accompanied by foreign minister Meritxell Serret, will travel around South America until March 21 on a trip that will also lead them to Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina.
They will meet with former Uruguayan president Pepe Mujica (2009-2014) and the current vice president Beatriz Argimón, among others.
The trip will continue on to Argentina, where politicians will open a new governmental office in Buenos Aires to have representation in the continent.
The office will be a "symbol" highlighting the "move forward" taken by the government to improve their relations with South America, Meritxell Serret said before departing.
While visiting Buenos Aires, Aragonès and Serret will also sign a bilateral cooperation agreement between the Catalan government and the Buenos Aires regional government before meeting with Axel Kicillof, the regional governor.
Hours later, they will make an offering to the statue of Catalan president Lluís Companys located in Plaza Catalunya square, which was inaugurated in 2017.
The trip will end in Chile, where Aragonès will meet with the country's former president and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights between 2018 and 2022, Michelle Bachelet. She is also the laureate of the Joan Alsina Human Rights prize, awarded by Casa Amèrica cultural center.