New U.S. ambassador to Bogota, Peter Michael McKinley, says that Washington supports the broadening of relations requested by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, and considers Colombia to be a priority.
McKinley, who spoke to newspaper El Tiempo, said “Colombia matters a lot to the Obama administration. It’s among the countries that we help the most, occupies the sixth or seventh position in aid the U.S. gives worldwide.”
The recent meeting between Santos and Obama shows the priority that the United States gives Colombia, the ambassador told the newspaper.
According to McKinley, the relation between Washington and Bogota will be amplified beyond joint counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics operations.
The ambassador told the newspaper that over the past eight years the countries have been successful fighting “drug trafficking and narco-terrorism, which has made it possible for us to focus on issues that always have been there, but now have more urgency.”
“We want to work, based on a strategic alliance, on regional and international issues and issues that touch the well being of the Colombian and American people: socio-economic development, environment and energy policies,” the ambassador said.
McKinley took office in Bogota three weeks ago after the departure of former U.S. ambassador William Brownfield.