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After presenting her credentials to President Piñera on 3rd March, HMA Clouder offered a reception for embassy contacts at the Residence.
“Welcome to the Residence. I am Fiona Clouder, the new British Ambassador to Chile. I am delighted to be here in this beautiful setting, and look forward to meeting you and getting to know you. I have been privileged today to present my credentials to President Piňera and I am glad that you can join me in celebrating this special occasion.
I have been here in Chile just over three weeks. Everyone tells me this has been a quiet time in Santiago, and judging by the traffic noise now, I think they must be right! We have a busy time ahead. Next week, I am pleased to say Hugo Swire, the Minister for Latin America in the Foreign Office, will be coming to Santiago to represent the UK at the Inauguration of President Bachelet. We then have a number of visitors coming out this month, including a big university delegation to explore collaboration in higher education, and in science and innovation; and many defence and industry visitors coming to the FIDAE Air Show; and a number of businesses keen to explore new trade links.
And that epitomises what I see as my role here – to further links between the UK and Chile, to build relations between our governments, and to develop close ties in business, education, science and many other areas. There are many historical links between the UK and Chile, not least naval and maritime links, as celebrated in this beautiful house. But I am interested in how we build links with a modern UK and a modern Chile – how we open up friendships for new generations, and how we can exchange ideas and work in partnership. I have been working on Latin America issues for the last three years, on an initiative which was the personal vision of William Hague, the Foreign Secretary. Within the region, Chile is one of our most important partners and I am honoured to be here as the British Ambassador.
In recent weeks, the world has become a more uncertain place. We have seen the important resolution taken in the UN Security Council on humanitarian assistance to Syria. We have seen the news, not least this weekend, on the Ukraine. In the region, the news is also full of what is happening in Venezuela. The world around us already feels different to that only a short while ago. The UK and Chile share many common values and approaches, including standing up for what you believe in. Chile’s role on the Security Council gives it an even greater role on the world stage. Chile’s strong democracy and economy give it an important regional role. We look forward to further exchanging ideas and approaches on world and regional issues, as well as bilateral links.
Those links are ultimately built on friendships and understanding. So I hope that this evening will be the start of many friendships. 30 years ago, a friend came to a reception at this Residence, and told me of the beauty of this country, the view of the mountains and most of all the warm welcome by the people here. He inspired me then to want to come to Chile. I came here briefly on holiday some years ago, and wanted to come back. Then visited through my work 2 years ago and definitely wanted to come back! The friend who came here originally, is the person who is now my husband, Jeremy. We are both delighted to be here and we would like to thank you for the very warm welcome you have given us again now. We hope that you enjoy this evening”.
More photos of the reception can be viewed here
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