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Obama Meets Peru's Incoming President

Peruvian President-elect Ollanta Humala
Peruvian President-elect Ollanta Humala

U.S. President Barack Obama has met with Peruvian President-elect Ollanta Humala, who takes office later this month.

The White House said Obama dropped by Wednesday while the incoming Peruvian leader was meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon.

A statement said President Obama emphasized U.S. commitment to supporting Peru's efforts to implement market-based economic policies while also increasing "economic and social inclusion." The statement said the two leaders also discussed cooperation on environmental issues and in the fight against drug trafficking.

President-elect Humala also met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday at the State Department.  Clinton told reporters after the meeting the U.S. stands ready to be Humala's partner as he tackles the big agenda in front of him.

Humala spoke of the importance of the bilateral relationship and said it is his intention to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Peru.

Humala was elected last month in a runoff, narrowly defeating Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori.  He has promised to give poor Peruvians a greater share of the Andean nation's considerable mineral wealth and to honor the free market.

He takes office after two previous unsuccessful attempts. In 2000, Humala launched a failed military coup against then-president Fujimori. And in 2006, he lost the presidential election to incumbent Alan Garcia, who leaves office July 28.  

In 2006, Humala was seen as a close ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who publicly endorsed him for president of Peru at that time.  Some reports alleged the Venezuelan government helped finance that campaign.  Humala has since distanced himself from Chavez.

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