BERN, 04-Aug-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — On Wednesday 3 August, the President of the Swiss Confederation, Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, was welcomed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogotá on an official visit. This is the first visit by a Swiss president to Colombia. The South American country is a priority for Switzerland with regard to peace-building, humanitarian aid and economic development. In addition to President Santos, the Swiss president met foreign minister María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar, finance minister Mauricio Cárdenas Santamaría, trade minister María Claudia Lacouture and minister of health Alejandro Gaviria in Bogotá.
Talks focused on the peace process in Colombia, Switzerland’s contributions in the post-conflict period, and economic cooperation. The anticipated end to the oldest armed conflict on the American continent is one of the most promising developments of current times, Mr Schneider-Ammann declared. Switzerland has from the outset closely followed the peace negotiations with the FARC.
Mr Schneider-Ammann reiterated that Switzerland would continue to support Colombia in the post-conflict period. A joint declaration on the strategy for development was signed on Wednesday. In addition, Switzerland and Colombia signed two visa agreements, and an air transport agreement that will relax legal restrictions on the airlines from both countries.
Further topics of discussion included trade, investments and infrastructure, as well as competitiveness and innovation. Mr Schneider-Ammann, who travelled to Colombia with an economic affairs delegation, then joined planning minister Simón Gaviria Muñoz and Mónica de Greiff, executive president of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, in opening an international innovation conference in Bogotá. In addition, he met representatives of Swiss non-governmental organisations in Colombia for talks.
Following its visit to Colombia, the Swiss delegation will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Friday, 5 August. On Thursday, 4 August, a stop is scheduled in Brasília for talks with the Brazilian government.
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SOURCE: Swiss Government