U.S. President Barack Obama has congratulated Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for what Mr. Obama calls "bold and brave" efforts to discuss peace with Colombian FARC rebels.
Mr. Santos visited the White House Tuesday for talks on U.S. economic and security aid to Colombia.
President Obama said success on the security front has made it possible to hold wider talks with Colombia on such matters as education and energy projects.
He said the peace talks with the FARC - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - send a signal to the Colombian people that it is possible to unleash the country's enormous potential.
Mr. Santos thanked the United States for its support for the talks. He said Colombia has been shedding blood for 50 years and that he hopes the fighting will soon end.
Colombia and the FARC have been holding Norwegian- and Cuban-sponsored peace talks in Havana.
Both sides have agreed to allow the rebels to take part in national politics once the insurgency ends.
The FARC has been fighting a 50-year-long guerrilla war against the Colombian government and partly finances the war through drug trafficking and frequent kidnappings of foreigners and Colombian officials.