Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said he had a “constructive” and wide-ranging
phone conversation with Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama
Thursday, on the eve of the Colombian leader’s trip to Washington.
“A phone call with Senator Barack Obama, Democratic candidate for
the US presidency, concluded just a few minutes ago,” Uribe told
reporters at the presidential palace.
“(It was) a very constructive phone call, covering many issues,” Uribe said.
President George W. Bush will welcome Uribe to the White House on
Saturday, as the two leaders press members of Congress to approve a
bilateral free trade pact.
Also on the agenda are discussions on
reducing violence and fostering peace and security in Colombia, which
for more than four decades has fought the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC), a leftist insurgency.
Bush’s Democratic foes in
Congress have stalled action on the bilateral trade accord, which is
not expected to come up for a vote before November 4th US elections
which pit Obama against Republican rival John McCain.
expected to attend the meeting in Washington are three American former
hostages who for several years were held captive by FARC rebels in
Colombia, and who returned to the United States in July following a
dramatic and daring rescue by Colombian armed forces.
to meet on Sunday in New York with the most well-known of the
newly-freed hostages, Franco-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.
On Monday he plans to address the United Nations General Assembly.