Implementing the restructuring of the Austrian representation network by opening the Austrian embassy in Bogotá
Secretary General for Foreign Affairs, Michael Linhart opened the Austrian embassy in Bogotá in the presence of Austrian Federal President Fischer and the Columbian Vice-minister for Foreign Affairs Patti Londoño. This is a further step towards the realisation of the strategic realignment of the diplomatic representation network, initiated by Minister for Foreign Affairs Sebastian Kurz last year.
“The opening of the embassy reflects the increasing importance of Columbia in Latin America”, said Secretary General Linhart. “The peace negotiations with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group are drawing to a close and are expected to end the civil war, which has been raging for 50 years and taken a toll of 220.000 dead and more than 6m internally displaced persons.”
The stabilisation of democracy which has been ongoing for a number of years has been accompanied by an economic recovery, also benefiting numerous Austrian companies. Close to 30 Austrian firms have branches in Colombia by now. Colombia, after Mexico, Brazil and Chile, was Austria’s fourth most important export market in Latin America in 2015.
Apart from the embassy being an important service post for the large number of Austrians living in Colombia, it will be also a dependable point of contact for the increasing number of tourists, visiting the state in the Andes. The signing of an agreement of cooperation in the field of justice last year and a declaration of intent on the negotiation of an agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons, which took place at the sidelines of the current visit of Federal President Fischer mark further concrete areas of closer cooperation between Austria and Colombia.
The Austrian embassy in Bogotá will also find a number of Caribbean states within its portfolio and thus function as a regional hub for Austria. Marianne Feldmann, who currently represents Austria in Brazil, will take over as the embassy’s Head of mission.
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