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Effective immediately, Colombian and Jamaican nationals holding diplomatic and official passports will no longer have to obtain visas to travel between both countries.
Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, K.D. Knight and his counterpart in Colombia, Dr. Carolina Barco signed the agreement on January 16 at the just concluded Fifth Meeting of the Jamaica Colombia Bi-national Commission, held in San Andres, Colombia.
“We laud the conclusion of a reciprocal visa abolition agreement for holders of diplomatic and official passports and we hope to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to signal a readiness to take action towards the negotiation of an Air Services Agreement, in accordance with the Convention on International Civil Aviation,” Mr. Knight said at the signing.
He noted that another important area of collaboration to be explored was “the administration of a joint Economic Zone between the two countries, specifically dealing with the framework for appraising the hydrocarbon potential of the Zone as it relates to seismic acquisition.”
The Minister said the two-day meeting was successful, with several other areas of co-operation being reached, which were of great importance to Colombia and Jamaica.
“Both sides underscored a commitment to people-to-people interaction through the continuation of language training, inter-university student exchange, teaching assistance programmes as well as cultural programmes to enhance awareness of each other’s culture,” he said.
For her part, Dr. Barco said the hosting of the meeting in her country was a very important step in the strengthening of bilateral relations between the states. She said several important decisions were taken in relation to various projects to be implemented in the future.
In the area of education, she pointed out that a programme for language study and training as well as a scholarship for tertiary level students was agreed. Co-operation in the field of culture, including folklore and the preservation of the heritage of both countries, was also discussed.
It was also agreed that visits would be arranged to explore the possibility of exporting meat and dairy products from Colombia to Jamaica and products such as herbs and spices and other products from Jamaica to that country.
“Additional alliances will be formed as we seek to improve trade relations between us,” Dr. Barco said.
Follow-up discussions were held on law enforcement and maritime issues. “We agreed to have more information sharing to support the money laundering mechanism as well as the possibility of establishing a police liaison officer between both countries, to be more effective in our methods of combating the scourge of drug trafficking,” she added.
The Jamaican delegation included representatives from academia, the Ministries of Education, Youth and Culture and National Security, the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, and JAMPRO. They deliberated on issues such as security, science and technology, oil and gas exploration, among others.
The meeting, which ended yesterday (January 17), was a follow-up to the visit made by the Colombian Minister of External Relations in August 2005.The Bilateral Commission was established approximately 10 years ago with the objective of strengthening co-operation between the countries.