Visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation to Cuba and Colombia

The acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation, Josep Borrell, visited Cuba on 16 and 17 October, and Colombia on 18 and 19 October.

On 16 October in Havana, Spain and Cuba held the meetings scheduled within the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two nations when the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, visited Cuba in 2018.

The meetings were headed by the Republic of Cuba’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Bruno Rodríguez and the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain, Josep Borrell. Both delegations discussed matters of common interest, including a dialogue on Human Rights. A Join Declaration was made as a result of said meetings. Minister Borrell also met the Minister of Culture, Alpidio Alonso, to follow up cultural cooperation between the countries, which is a key pillar of the bilateral relationship.

During the joint press conference, both delegations emphasized the importance of these meetings in reinforcing the bilateral relationship. Minister Borrell confirmed the visit of Their Majesties the King and Queen to Cuba on the occasion of the Fifth Centenary of the founding of Havana next November.

The meeting between the President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel, and Minister Borrell allowed both Spain and Cuba to underline their commitment to deepening relationships in this new period. Minister Borrell was also invited by Vice-President Ricardo Cabrisas to discuss economic and trade matters, including the consequences of the activation of Title III of the Helms–Burton Act. The visit to Cuba concluded with a reception hosted by the Spanish Ambassador for Spanish businesspersons with interests in the country, where they communicated to Minister Borrell their difficulties and opportunities in the country. Additionally, Minister Borrell met with representatives of Cuban civil society to learn of their concerns and of possible forms of collaboration.

From Havana, the Minister travelled on to Bogota, where he was welcomed by the President of the Republic, Iván Duque, the Vice-President Marta Lucía Ramírez (in a meeting also attended by the acting Spanish Minister of Culture and Sport, José Guirao) and where he met Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo. The meetings with members of the Colombian Government allowed to assess the good status of the relationships between the countries, within the framework of their strategic bilateral partnership. In this sense, it must be noted that these meetings laid the foundations for a cooperation scheme between the countries with regard to the galleon San José.

Likewise, the Minister met with the representatives of the three institutions that constitute the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition set forth by the Peace Agreements, and reaffirmed Spanish commitment to continue to support the Colombian Government and society’s efforts for peace. The Minister’s Bogota schedule included meetings with eminent Colombian personalities and representatives of the many Spanish companies present in the country.

Minister Borrell’s trip to Colombia ended with a visit to the border city of Cúcuta, the entry point for the significant exodus of Venezuelan citizens caused by the ongoing crisis in the country. The Minister visited projects funded by Spanish cooperation and participated in a joint press conference with his Colombian counterpart. In said conference, the Minister emphasized the magnitude of this migration and disclosed the Spanish Government’s intention to considerably reinforce the resources allocated to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, and to support Venezuelan refugees and the migrant-receiving countries of the region, to be announced during the International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Crisis to be held on 28 and 29 October 2019.










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