A statement has been issued following a meeting in Downing Street today between Prime Minister David Cameron and President Pinera of Chile.
A Downing Street spokesman said:
The Prime Minister warmly welcomed President Pinera of Chile to Downing Street for the second time and said that Chile was one of Britain’s oldest friends in South America, with many shared values and aspirations. Both leaders said that this meeting further strengthened their relationship. They agreed to maintain their close cooperation on defence and foreign policy, as well as committing to increase bilateral trade between the two countries from the current £1.73 billion. The Prime Minister said he was doing everything he could to regain some of Britain’s pioneering spirit in trading with South America.
President Pinera acknowledged the Prime Minister’s views on the Falklands and the forthcoming referendum and also assured him that shipping routes would remain open to the UK. They also strongly agreed on the need for resolution in relation to both Iran and Syria, bringing Iran to the negotiating table and ending the horrific violence in Syria.
They affirmed their wider commitment to furthering co-operation in science and innovation. The Prime Minister said he hoped that the year of innovation in 2013 in Chile would provide further opportunities to develop these links between the UK and Chile. The two leaders welcomed an agreement signed today between the British Antarctic Survey and Chilean Antarctic Institute to strengthen the countries’ cooperation in this region. The agreement will allow both countries to use each other’s research stations and other assets to help deliver research programmes in a part of the world which is vital for understanding the speed and impact of climate change.