UK Foreign Secretary William Hague was received on Sunday in Cartagena by Colombian Foreign minister María Angeles Holguín and on Monday is scheduled to meet with Juan Manuel Santos at the Palacio Nariño, seat of the Executive in Bogotá. Mr. Hague on Monday evening will be flying to Brazil.
During the meeting with Ms Holguín, the two ministers reviewed cooperation programs between Colombia and the UK, addressed environment issues and the UK's initiative for the prevention of sexual violence in conflicts, PSVI, to which both countries are committed.
According to the Colombian foreign ministry, Ms Holguin insisted on the importance of promoting issues related to science and technology and innovation, plus education and investment.
The ministry also pointed out that relation between the UK and Colombia date back to 18 April, 1825.
The Foreign Secretary besides meeting President Santos was scheduled to hold talks with Finance Minister Mauricio Cárdenas and Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón since the UK supports Colombia’s efforts to tackle the drugs trade and organized crime.
In Colombia the Royal Navy works closely with its counterparts on the seizure of drugs heading to the UK via the Caribbean. HMS Lancaster recently intercepted drugs worth £58 million, which would otherwise have made their way on to UK streets.
Earlier this month Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was also in Colombia. He announced a new bilateral trade target of £4 billion by 2020 – the previous target of £1.7 billion having been met two years early. Mr. Clegg also He announced the resumption of direct flights between the UK and Colombia this July after a decade’s absence.
Before leaving for Colombia, Foreign Secretary Hague said that following President Santos’s visit to London last year, this will be my first visit to Colombia, a valued partner for the UK. More and more UK companies are benefiting from our growing trade relationship and during my visit, I will reaffirm the UK’s support for peace negotiations with the FARC. We know from our experience in Northern Ireland that peace takes commitment, patience and reconciliation.
In Brazil Mr. Hague will visit the World Cup stadium at Manaus, where England will play its first match, and hear about the progress of World Cup preparations. He will join Foreign Minister Luiz Figueiredo for the third UK-Brazil Strategic Dialogue, and will promote work being done to alleviate poverty in Africa. He will also promote the efforts of British businesses in both Brasília and São Paulo.
In Brazil, I am looking forward to seeing where England will play their first World Cup match and hearing first-hand about the opportunities the tournament provides for British businesses expanding their reach across the continent, said the Foreign Secretary.
In both countries I will discuss with my counterparts our cooperation in the UN and the G20, and the work we do together on a wide range of foreign policy issues, including human rights. I am pleased to be hosting events on my Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) in both Colombia and Brazil.