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Colombia Will Continue To Be U.S.’s Best Ally In The Region, Foreign Minister Says

By Dialogo
June 03, 2011

Colombia will continue to be the most “pro-United States” country in Latin America, despite pending issues such as the Free-Trade Agreement (FTA), Colombian Foreign Minister María Angela Holguín declared, following a working meeting in Washington.

“It’s difficult to find a more pro-American country than Colombia in the region, and that’s not going to change,” the foreign minister predicted, after sketching a panorama of her diplomatic activity at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think tank.

Colombians “are very pro-American,” the foreign minister indicated upon being asked about the impact of the failure to ratify the FTA, which has been pending since 2006.

“At this moment, there is a feeling of dissatisfaction, yes, especially among businesspeople,” she explained.

“That doesn’t mean that we want to look in another direction, but we do want to look more in that direction,” she explained, in reference to the search for new markets.

On Tuesday, Holguín held her first working meeting in Washington as foreign minister with her U.S. counterpart, Hillary Clinton, who reaffirmed the alliance between the two countries.

Colombia is Washington’s chief strategic ally in Latin America, thanks to military collaboration and the anti-narcotics fight.

The United States and Colombia reviewed their agenda of joint initiatives, and Holguín took the opportunity to explain her country’s proposals on the topic of regional security.

“Colombia has had a program of support for Mexico and Central America underway for several years,” the foreign minister explained.

The Colombian police have already trained around nine thousand Mexican police officers in fighting organized crime, the Colombian foreign minister explained as an example.

Citizen security is the chief topic to be discussed at the upcoming annual meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of American States (OAS), this weekend in San Salvador, focused especially on the alarming situation in Central America.

“What we want is to offer consultation in addition, also about purging police forces” in Central American countries, the foreign minister explained.

“Obviously, we can’t continue offering that help without resources,” added Holguín, who specifically asked the United States and the European Union to contribute their financial resources so that Bogotá for its part can continue providing its assistance.