Colombian President,Álvaro Uribe Vélez, and two other foreign leaders will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the hands of U.S. President, George W. Bush, the highest honor given to a civilian by the United States.
On January 13th, Uribe will be recognized alongside former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Australian counterpart, John Howard, all considered loyal friends and allies by Bush, especially in the war in Iraq.
“The President will honor these leaders for their efforts to improve the lives of their country’s citizens and promote democracy, human rights and world peace”, said White House spokesperson Dana Perino, adding that the award ceremony will take place in the East Room of the White House just one week before handing over the presidency to President-elect, Barack Obama.
During his tenure in office, Bush has awarded the medal 78 times.
Uribe has been recognized several times in Washington, the most recent of them in September when the National Defense University gave him the William J. Perry Award for his extraordinary leadership in the field of military industry.