Trump welcomes Colombian President to White House

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 18, 2017. But under a peace treaty signed previous year, the FARC rebels are disarming, and they have agreed to support anti-drug programs.

"President Santos is going to make a big effort to show President Trump that Colombia has been, is and will be the United States' main ally in Latin America", said Senator Jimmy Chamorro, who sits on the Colombian Senate's foreign affairs committee.

The post WATCH LIVE: President Trump holds joint news conference with Colombia's president appeared first on PBS NewsHour. "I believe the foundations have been laid, we have the free trade agreement, which is working well, the number of Colombian businesses exporting to the United States has grown, and we both believe that we can take greater advantage of those agreements in order to increase flows in both direction for the benefit both of the Colombian and American people". "We must confront this unsafe threat to our societies together".

Michael Camilleri, former director for Andean Affairs at the National Security Council, said there is clearly a lot of good will between the two countries and that Santos is aware of the administration's concern about ballooning cultivation of coca, the raw material for cocaine.

"I believe the best way to fight drug trafficking is by collaborating", Santos said.

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Analysts say the rejection of the fast-track procedure means the peace drive must be debated article by article, laying it open to amendments by lawmakers opposed to it.

The meeting came as the Trump administration rolled out new sanctions Thursday on members of Venezuela's supreme court for alleged human rights violations. "We declared the war on drugs 40 years ago... and it's a war that has not been won, so we must be more effective and more efficient".

Trump did not mention Colombia's hard-fought peace process until a reporter asked about it. He cited the eradication this year alone of of 15,000 hectares of coca fields, which is the amount eradicated last year.

Trump has long pledged a $1 trillion, 10-year plan to modernize US roads, bridges, airports, the electrical grid and water systems, but has so far been vague on how much of the spending would come from the federal government.

The Colombian leader sought on his visit to the White House to emphasize the bilateral relations between the two nations and convince Trump that U.S. support for Colombia during its post-conflict phase is in Washington's strategic interests.

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"The only people who will benefit are the drug traffickers" if US aid is cut, Juan Carlos Pinzon, the Colombian ambassador in Washington, told reporters before Santos' visit.

Trump didn't mention the $450 million that former President Barack Obama promised the Colombian government.

"That was a long and very diplomatic answer to your question".

"I don't want to oversimplify the budget, but in policy, love is expressed through the budget", Mr. Pinzon said.

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