President Tony Tan Keng Yam with Panama President Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez (left) yesterday. Dr Tan also hosted a state banquet at the Istana in Mr Varela’s honour last night. Mr Varela, who was on a two-day state visit, was welcomed at an official ceremony at the Istana in the morning, then called on President Tan and met Acting Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. A Foreign Ministry statement said that during these talks, Dr Tan and Mr Varela reaffirmed the warm ties between Singapore and Panama, and discussed ways to strengthen and broaden bilateral cooperation.
At their separate talks, Mr Teo and President Varela exchanged views on regional and international developments, and agreed to explore further opportunities for economic collaboration, as well as to expand bilateral cooperation in training and education. Yesterday, Mr Varela and Madam Lorena Castillo de Varela visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens, where an orchid, the Dendrobium Juan Carlos and Lorena Varela, was named in their honour. Mr Varela also visited and held discussions with PSA, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and the Institute of Technical Education College Central in Ang Mo Kio. The Panama leader and the Panamaian delegation left for home yesterday.