On the Swiss side, the meeting was also attended by State Secretary Pascale Baeriswyl (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs). Mr Maurer and President Duque commended the close bilateral relations between the two countries, which are characterised by healthy economic exchanges and regular high-level meetings. The existing legal framework serves as a sound basis for more intensive economic relations. President Maurer suggested that a number of areas lent themselves to deeper relations, such as trade and investment, but also education and research.
Colombia is a priority country for Switzerland in terms of economic cooperation, humanitarian aid and peacebuilding. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the peace process in Colombia. Switzerland closely monitored the negotiations with FARC, which led to a peace agreement in 2016, and it reiterated its desire to support Colombia in the implementation phase of the agreement. The two sides also discussed the difficult humanitarian situation in Venezuela. There are currently around 1.4 million refugees from Venezuela living in Colombia. In view of this crisis, Switzerland is providing humanitarian aid in the region of CHF 5 to 6 million per year, in addition to the aid programme for internally displaced persons.
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