WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama praised the “bold” and “courageous” efforts of his counterpart in Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, to bring peace to that country through negotiations with the FARC, but stressed that process “will not be easy.”
Following the meeting between the two in the White House, Santos thanked the support expressed by Obama that process, said “going well” and noted that the support of both the U.S. and the international community will be critical to its success.
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Obama met with Santos in the Oval Office, where they were both together for just over an hour.
While there is pending “challenges” around the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Obama argued that the mere fact of negotiations “is a signal to the people of Colombia” that there is “huge potential” for overcome the conflict that drags the country for half a century.
The Government of Colombia and the FARC began last the seventeenth cycle of their peace talks, which have their permanent home in Havana (Cuba) and the fruits so far are two partial agreements on rural development and political participation per week.
Obama also advocated today by continuing security cooperation between the U.S. and Colombia, and stated that the “success” of the alliance in recent years has expanded the bilateral agenda to work on other issues such as education, energy and new technologies.
Bilateral relationship is at its best
In this regard, Santos noted that the bilateral relationship “is at its best in a long time.”
The Colombian president focused on emphasizing cooperation between the U.S. and your country to improve security in Central America and the Caribbean, and said that the joint actions in this matter “will be triple” until late 2014.
Santos also said, as he had already advanced yesterday in Miami that Obama sent his proposal to create a joint alliance “for prosperity and peace” in Latin America.
About the North American Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which came into force in May 2012, Obama emphasized the “success” of your application, because “jobs created” in both the U.S. and Colombia, but said there are “some details “in which further work.
On the other hand, Obama reiterated U.S. support to Colombia is part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which approved the entry of that country in September.
After his visit to the White House, where he is now maintaining a private lunch meeting with Obama, Santos will speak at a ceremonial session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS).