At the Ibero-American Conference Foreign Ministers’ meeting being held in Cartagena, Colombia from December 11-12, 2015, Foreign Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu held bilateral meetings today with the Foreign Ministers of Bolivia, David Choquehuanca Céspedes; Paraguay, Ambassador Eladio Loizaga; and Colombia, María Ángela Holguín.

At the meeting with the Colombian Foreign Minister, the two officials welcomed the excellent bilateral relationship and explored the possibility of strengthening it further after President Santos’ productive visit to Mexico last May. They also reviewed bilateral and multilateral issues, especially the Pacific Alliance.

 One step that will help deepen the relationship is the creation of the Mexican – Colombian Strategic Committee, a commitment made during the presidential visit. The committee, comprised of well-known individuals from both countries, will meet annually to identify priority areas for the bilateral relationship, such as education, training, culture, research and innovation.

The Mexicans on the committee are ANUIES Executive Secretary General Jaime Valls Esponda; Leonardo Curzio Gutierrez, a political analyst, journalist and researcher at the UNAM; José Carreño Carlón, Director General of the Fondo de Cultura Económica; CONACULTA President Rafael Tovar y de Teresa; Rafael Moisés Kalach Mizrahi, President and CEO of Kaltex Group; Miguel Elizalde, Executive President of the National Association of Manufacturers of Buses, Trucks and Tractors (ANPACT) and Juan Pablo del Valle, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mexichem.

Colombian committee members include Carlos Ignacio Gallego Palacio, President of Nutresa Group; Pedro Felipe Carvajal, President of Carvajal Packaging; Jack Goldstein, CEO of Sanford; Ignacio Mantilla, President of the National University; Juan Carlos Henao, President of the Externado University of Colombia, and Ramiro Osorio, Director General of the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo and the former Minister of Culture.

Creation of this committee, the strategic relationship between Mexico and Colombia in groups such as the Pacific Alliance, and the recent creation of the Group of Friends of Mexico for peace in Colombia, is evidence of the strong ties between our countries.

Foreign Secretary Ruiz Massieu and Foreign Minister Holguin also signed a Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Theft and Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Cultural Property to better protect our vast cultural heritage, facilitate the return of recovered goods and combat their sale abroad.

At the meeting with Bolivian Foreign Minister Choquehuanca, the two officials discussed bilateral and multilateral issues, including the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). They agreed on the importance of consensus and inclusion in discussing issues related to this group. They also agreed on a meeting between Deputy Ministers in 2016.

With Ambassador Eladio Loizaga, the Foreign Secretary assessed the bilateral relationship with Paraguay and discussed various international issues. The two officials agreed to hold the fifth meeting for consultations and coordination in Asunción in the first months of 2016, leading up to a visit by President Horacio Cartes to Mexico.

This is Foreign Secretary Ruiz Massieu’s first visit to Colombia since taking office on August 27, 2015, and her first meeting of Ibero-American Foreign Ministers. 

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