News / USA

Obama Encourages Santos in Peace Negotiations with Guerrillas

President Barack Obama meets with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Dec. 3, 2013
President Barack Obama meets with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Dec. 3, 2013
President Barack Obama and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos have met at the White House to discuss U.S. security and economic assistance for the South American country.  Obama also said peace talks with rebels are the right path for Colombia.  

Santos has used his U.S. visit to highlight progress in peace negotiations with guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The United States has been supportive, and Obama spoke about the issue during his visit to Colombia last year to attend the Summit of the Americas.

The U.S. and Colombia have a longstanding security relationship, but the U.S. has been re-focusing it to economic and development assistance, and promoting human rights progress in Colombia.

Obama said success on the security front has made a wider discussion possible on cooperation in areas such as education and enhancing economic opportunity for Colombia's people, along with energy projects and technology.

He directly addressed what he called Santos's "bold and brave efforts" to bring about a lasting and just peace in negotiations with the FARC.

"It is not easy.  There are many challenges ahead.  But the fact that he has taken this step, I think, is the right one, because it sends a signal to the people of Colombia that it is possible to unleash the enormous potential if we can move beyond this conflict," Obama said.

Santos thanked Obama for U.S. support for the peace process.

"It is a process that is doing very well, and it is my hope this is a conflict that will come to an end.  We have been shedding blood for over 50 years, and the support of the United States and the entire world is decisive in reaching that peace we all want," Santos said.

The Colombian president announced in November that he is seeking re-election.  His opponent is a former Colombian finance minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, who has vowed to halt peace talks with FARC if elected.

In his remarks, Obama said he also spoke with Santos about efforts to improve human and labor rights in Colombia, saying this serves as an example for other countries.

Human rights organizations continue to be critical of Colombia and say government security forces, sometimes acting with paramilitary groups, and guerrillas are responsible for serious abuses.

In its budget request to Congress for the 2014 fiscal year, the Obama administration sought $323 million in aid to Colombia, a decrease of $61 million.

Aid to Mexico, another major regional partner, has also decreased, reflecting a shift in U.S. priorities as Washington increases funds for a Central America regional security initiative.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid