New Zealand and Colombia building closer ties

Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Fletcher Tabuteau represented the New Zealand Government at the formal opening of the New Zealand Embassy in Bogotá last night.

“The opening of a New Zealand Embassy in Bogotá is a significant step in strengthening New Zealand’s relations with Latin American countries,” Mr Tabuteau says.

“New Zealand businesses are already investing in dairy development and water catchment management projects and are moving into the agribusiness, food processing, retail, construction, aviation, and health sectors.”

“It is very humbling to also see important humanitarian work being undertaken in Colombia, allowing families and small communities back into affected areas,” Mr Tabuteau says.

“New Zealand has contributed $1 million to humanitarian demining efforts in Colombia and is working with The Halo Trust to use New Zealand-developed technology to safely dispose of mines.  

“This builds on the support New Zealand gave towards the 2016 peace agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (the FARC), and was instrumental in gaining endorsement by the international community during our time on the UN Security Council.

“I am particularly pleased to see the increasing education links between New Zealand and Colombia,” Mr Tabuteau says.  “Colombia is a priority market for Education New Zealand, which is supporting schools and universities to build links with Colombian counterparts. 

“Young New Zealanders are increasingly interested in Colombia and a large number of the most-recent Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Latin America were awarded to New Zealand students bound for Colombia.”

 While in Colombia Mr Tabuteau has also held meetings with Vice Foreign Minister Patti Londoño and Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín.

“Vice Foreign Minister Patti Londoño is a great friend of New Zealand. She is an insightful guide to Colombia’s post-conflict development, and is enthusiastic about the opportunities for New Zealand and New Zealanders in her country.”

 [ENDS]

 Contact: Laree Taula, 021 992 200