On 8th October 2015, the Minister of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, welcomed the Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs of Chile, Edgardo Riveros to London for political talks. They discussed strategic bilateral, regional and multilateral issues and committed to continue the strong and open partnership between the United Kingdom and Chile which goes from strength-to- strength.
Minister Swire expressed his condolences for the loss of life in Chile’s recent earthquake, and the admiration of the United Kingdom (UK) for the response of the Chilean authorities as well as the resilience of the Chilean people. Undersecretary Riveros discussed with Minister Swire the possibilities that exist for closer cooperation between the UK and Chile, on areas such as crisis management, public security and cyber, reiterating their shared commitment to a free, open and secure Internet.
Minister Swire and Undersecretary Riveros welcomed the success of the fifth consecutive “Chile Day” that was held in London, and looked forward to London hosting again in 2016. They discussed ways in which trade and investment between the UK and Chile, particularly in the mining and energy sectors, could be further expanded.
Minister Swire and Undersecretary Riveros reflected on the opportunities and challenges currently faced by Europe and Latin America. They agreed on the benefits of trade liberalisation as a source for economic growth in the UK, Chile and globally. Both the UK and Chile are committed to promoting free trade through the WTO, plurilateral negotiations such as the Trade in Services Agreement, and supporting the modernisation of the EU-Chile Association Agreement, in force since 2003.
The authorities also exchanged views on the benefits and progress made by the Pacific Alliance. The UK´s ongoing initiatives as an observer of the Pacific Alliance in the areas of innovation, competition, mining and education were highlighted. MILA Day, to be held on October 16 in London, will open new areas of collaboration between the UK and the Pacific Alliance. On education, Chile welcomed the Chevening Pacific Alliance Scholarships, which has allowed greater numbers of Chilean students to come to study in the UK.
Both sides reiterated the UK and Chile’s firm commitment to the rules based international system. They reflected on the threats to global security that face the world today and the joint work the UK and Chile have taken to address these in the United Nations Security Council. The UK and Chile remain committed to their international responsibilities, including on peacekeeping. On the global migration crisis, Minister Swire and Undersecretary Riveros exchanged views on the need for a global response from the international community to support refugees, and the vital importance of a political settlement in Syria. They acknowledge the importance of working at an international level in the establishment of mechanisms to aid the refugees in need, especially the ones in UNHCR camps
Minister Swire and Undersecretary Riveros reflected on the excellent and long lasting defence relationship that exists between the UK and Chile, stretching back very many years. Both authorities noted the success of the 13th annual ministerial led defence talks followed by single service talks between the two countries.
Both agreed that the centenary of Shackleton’s Endurance expedition and rescue of his men from Elephant Island, Antarctica by Piloto Luis Pardo, is a fitting opportunity for the UK and Chile to reflect on both countries long and constructive co-operation in Antarctica. From the early explorers to the pioneering scientists that work in the continent today, Chile and the UK are committed to the Antarctic Treaty System, and will continue to work closely on Antarctic science, logistics and policy matters.
The UK and Chile enjoy a strong and long lasting partnership in Science and Innovation. The Minister and the Undersecretary reflected on the strength of cooperation between British and Chilean research and development partners in recent years, especially through the joint UK-Chile Newton-Picarte Fund which provides up to £8 million a year for researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs. The important collaboration and joint ventures already in place between UK and Chilean universities and research centres were highlighted and possibilities for further collaboration discussed. Also noted was the UK standing as the main destination for Chilean graduate students who want to further their studies and engage in research abroad.
With the agreement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Minister Swire and Undersecretary Riveros agreed that it was now vitally important to work on relevant mechanisms at a national, regional and global level that assist in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. They also agreed on the importance of the UK and Chile continuing to work closely to ensure that extreme poverty is eradicated within a generation.
Minister Swire and Undersecretary Riveros reaffirmed the UK and Chile’s positive relationship on climate change and joint commitment to achieving an ambitious, binding global agreement under the UNFCCC at COP21 in Paris that includes robust and legally binding rules, long term goals and five yearly review cycles to increase future ambition, as recently discussed on the occasion of the visit to Chile of the UK Special representative for CC, David King. They also discussed the joint achievements to address deforestation under the ‘Lima Paris Action Agenda’. The UK and Chile recognise the need to transition rapidly to low carbon economies and the significant opportunities this brings to both economies. The UK recognises that mobilisation of finance is important to a deal and has committed to an at least 50% increase in climate finance over the next five years. Both parties also discussed the results of Our Ocean Conference held in Chile earlier in the week and underlined the important commitment made by the countries participating in an encouraging signal of the need to tackle the situation in our seas.
The meeting concluded with Minister Swire and Undersecretary Riveros welcoming the success of the talks, and agreeing that further discussions between the UK and Chile should take place before the end of 2016.