Peter Michael McKinley took office Tuesday as the United States ambassador to Colombia, presenting his credentials to President Juan Manuel Santos at the Casa de Nariño in Bogota.
McKinley, nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama on May 7 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 5, spoke of the relation between the two countries being at a historic crossroads, as close collaboration continues. He said the U.S. respects Colombia’s sovereignty and the country’s democratic institutions.
McKinley’s comments come after Colombia’s Constitutional ruled that a deal governing U.S. access to Colombian military bases is unconstitutional.
The new ambassador also spoke about his desire to push through a pending free trade agreement between the two countries, which has been awaiting ratification by U.S. Congress since 2006. He stressed the importance of strong economic ties between the two countries.
“We will work with President Santos on how best to continue addressing the issues involved with the agreement,” McKinley said. “The fact is that our cooperation and assistance will remain strong, as in years past, and will we continue working on the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism.”
McKinley previously served as ambassador to Peru as well as in several other posts with the U.S. Foreign Service. He was born in Venezuela and grew up in Brazil, Mexico, Spain and the U.S. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.