At the 2nd Bilateral Consultation in the Colombian capital Bogota on December 4-5, the host nation expressed a commitment to strengthening its relationship with ASEAN and bringing about closer cooperation between the bloc and the South American region.

Cambodia and Colombia also agreed to further boost bilateral ties and continue to support each other on the international stage.

The 2nd Bilateral Consultation was co-hosted by Ouch Borith, permanent secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Francisco Jose Coy Granados, Colombian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Cambodia’s foreign ministry on December 7 said the two sides had also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the geopolitical landscape as well as support for multilateralism and the international system with the UN at the core.

“Ouch Borith took good note of Colombia’s goodwill and commitment to strengthening its relationship with ASEAN and to bridging closer cooperation between ASEAN and the South America region.

“The two sides agreed to further boost bilateral ties and continue to support each other in the international arena for the mutual benefit of the two countries and peoples,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added that Granados commended Cambodia on its successful hosting of the recent ASEAN Summit and related meetings in Phnom Penh during a time of heightened geopolitical tensions.

Both sides also agreed to organise important events in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cambodia and Colombia, and Borith thanked the South American nation for printing postage stamps marking the occasion as a token of friendship.

With trade volumes between Cambodia and Colombia remaining modest, the two sides agreed to work together to increase trade exchanges, with Borith informing Granados of “the favourable conditions” in the Kingdom’s business environment and its investment policy.

Borith, who is also minister attached to the prime minister, proposed holding a business forum on the sidelines of the next Bilateral Consultation in Phnom Penh to expand business-to-business activities.

Both sides also agreed to enhance tourism cooperation and to assist each other in holding tourism promotion activities, while encouraging their citizens to visit each other’s country.

In this regard, Colombia proposed that the Kingdom consider lifting visas for the holders of a normal passport.

In the field of education, Colombia welcomed the proposal by the Kingdom to sign a memorandum of understanding between the two countries’ diplomatic institutions, and committed to continue providing Spanish language scholarships to Cambodian officials in the coming years.

The Colombian side is also to offer master’s and doctorate degree scholarships to Cambodian students from 2023.

Regarding demining and peacekeeping cooperation, Colombia expressed deep gratitude to the Cambodian government for providing demining training to more than 180 of its officials since 2010.

Borith expressed the Kingdom’s support for the training of Colombian officials for three more years – 2023-2025 – in the framework of Cambodian-Japanese-Colombian trilateral cooperation.