Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne visited Ecuador as part of a wider visit to South America.
On Sunday he visited the Middle of the World monument near Quito, from where he recorded his first video blog from Ecuador.
“I’m at the centre of the Earth now, but London will be at the centre of the world’s attention next year”, said the Foreign Office Minister in reference to the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Jeremy Browne in Ecuador
He later visited the Intiñan Solar Museum, where he carried out several scientific experiments only possible in the equator. Among those experiments were balancing an egg on the tip of a nail, which becomes easier in the equator due to magnetic forces cancelling each other out. The Minister also witnessed how water runs to opposite sides depending on which hemisphere it is done, effect that is visible even with a difference of just a few feet.
On Monday, the Minister had a breakfast at hotel Plaza Grande with several political commentators, including Vicente Albornoz, Director of CORDES, Margarita Andrade, consultant in public finance, Jorge Cevallos, Executive Director of the International Centre for Research and Analysis of Public Policy, Teodoro Maldonado, legal advisor of Conecel, and Luis Hernandez, analyst of political and military affairs. After breakfast he gave a short statement to Ecuadorean press.
After that, the Minister met Ecuador’s acting Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where they discussed several bilateral issues.
He then attended an event to mark one-year-to-go to the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the residence of the British Embassy. At the event, attended by members of the Ecuadorean sporting community and other important guests, the Minister gave a speech highlighting the importance of the Games and the relationship between the UK and Latin America, and awarded a certificate to Franklin Tenorio, Ecuadorean athlete already qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games. He also participated in a kick about with members of the Ecuadorean National Football Team, and received a “fast-walking lesson” with Ecuadorean Olympic Medalist Jefferson Perez.
Later on, the Minister supported BUPA’s work in Ecuador and their campaign to raise funds for Fundacion Corazones Valientes which supports children with cancer. He unveiled a plaque recognising BUPA’s work in this area in the presence of the Deputy Mayor of Quito, Jorge Alban, and children and families supported by the Fundacion. As the Minister agreed to ride a bicycle down the “Chaquiñan” (trail), BUPA donated a further USD 1,500 to the Fundacion.
The Minister then cycled to the Cerveceria Nacional plant, where he heard about the company’s 10 point corporate social responsibility programme. He had a tour of the plant and learned about the environmental programme of Cerveceria Nacional to use the minimum water necessary and recycle waste. The Minister gave a press conference after the two visits and stressed the importance of building up trade and investment relations with Ecuador.
Jeremy Browne in Ecuador