My productive visit to Colombia included the opening of the new Australian Embassy in Bogotá, part of the single largest expansion in Australia’s diplomatic network in 40 years.
I held extensive discussions with my Colombian counterpart, Foreign Minister Angela Holguín and signed an Air Services MOU, which will help boost air links between our two countries.
I also met Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, President Juan Manuel Santos, and announced $500,000 in de-mining assistance to Colombia, the second most heavily mined country in the world after Afghanistan. I assured the President of Australia's support as Colombia continues to rebuild after achieving an end to over 50 years of conflict.
There was also a roundtable discussion with the Ministers for Agriculture and Education in which we identified new ways to enhance our bilateral cooperation, including initiatives to improve Colombian agriculture and mining.
I built on the strong business and people-to-people links between our two countries and reiterated Australia’s interest in working to expand trade and economic links with Colombia, the fourth largest economy in Latin America.
Australia’s relations with Colombia have grown strongly. In 2016, over 17,000 Colombian students studied in Australia, the fourth largest source of English language students in Australia globally. Also, in 2016 over 15,000 Australians visited Colombia.
I also gave the keynote address at a business function jointly hosted by Qantas and Tourism Australia to promote the dynamic and growing links in tourism and education.
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