Juan Manuel Santos (Photo: Presindent's Office)

Colombia’s president opened the international “Third Way Summit” on Thursday by focusing on the peace process, noting the economic and social successes of his administration despite the country’s armed conflict.

In his opening remarks during the Third Way Summit, President Juan Manuel Santos credited “Third Way” policies for giving Colombia a successful and more equitable economic model to build on, according to a presidential press release.

Speaking in front of former US President Bill Clinton and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Santos called on his international audience to acknowledge “everything we have achieved in spite of an internal armed conflict that has affected us in more than half a century.”

“Imagine how much more we could achieve if we get this obstacle out of the way,” said Santos.

Santos noted in his introduction that Blair had “learned to drive and push forward the [peace] process, solving a centuries-old conflict in Northern Ireland” and that Clinton “was instrumental in approaches between Israelis and Palestinians.”

“History shows us that true peace cannot be imposed by force but is the result of agreements, so their contribution is now very important and revealing for our country,” said Santos.

Third Way policy

The so-called Third Way, first launched in Colombia at the beginning of Santos’ presidency in 2010, is a centrist political position combining conservative free-market capitalism with liberal democratic social policies.

The head of state has worked closely with former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair on applying the policy to Colombia, co-authoring the book “The Third Way: An Alternative for Colombia” in 1999.

Santos himself describes the centrist doctrine as “the market whenever possible, the government when necessary,” and noted in the past that one of the key challenges for his administration would be combating poverty and unemployment.

MORE: Colombia able to eradicate extreme poverty before end of decade: Santos


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