U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed her country’s support for Colombia in terms of security and development, during her quick visit to the Andean nation.
“Colombia is in the best position to judge what the threats are that it faces and how to confront those threats. But I want to underscore for anyone who is listening or watching that the United States will stay a strong partner with Colombia in meeting the security needs Colombia faces,” Clinton said during a joint press conference with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe at the Casa de Nariño Wednesday.,
Clinton confirmed the commitment made by U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration to maintain not just military assistance, but also an increase in support for social and economic development, production of clean energy and mitigation of climate change.
“We offer support to Colombian security initiatives, but we also agree with President Uribe and his cabinet that a democracy must provide concrete results for its people, in education, in health,” Clinton said.
Uribe said that U.S. support was not just rhetoric but had been put in practice, as evidenced by the U.S.-Colombia pact that grants the North American nation access to seven Colombian military bases “which will greatly help in the fight against terrorism.”
Clinton also recognized advances that Colombia had made in terms of human rights.
“Although there are still challenges to overcome in this fight, Colombia holds an increasingly important and positive regional role… The U.S. feels proud to be allied with Colombia and we will continue to ally with you in the future,” Clintton said
“Colombia is a valued partner, a leader and we hope to be able to deepen and amplify our alliance,” Clinton added.
The secretary of state said that meeting with Colombian presidential candidates Juan Manuel Santos and Antanas Mockus had reinforced to her the strength of Colombian democracy. “The U.S. will work in a close and constructive way with whichever is elected by the Colombian people in the second round” presidential election scheduled for June 20, Clinton said.
Since 2000, the U.S. has contributed around $7 billion in military and other aid to Colombia.