February 22, 2015

Kaine Concludes Two-Day Visit To Colombia

Lauds announcement of a U.S. Special Envoy to Colombia-FARC negotiations

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations & Armed Services Committees, concluded a two-day visit to Colombia focused on political, economic and security issues, including the Colombian government's ongoing negotiations with the FARC. In addition to meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Kaine met with Colombian senators, business leaders, members of civil society, and U.S. and Colombian military personnel.

On Friday, Kaine met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for a wide ranging conversation on our bilateral relationship and regional affairs, including the Colombia-FARC peace talks.  He also met with Colombian Senate President Jose David Name, and Senators Juan Manuel Galán, Antonio Navarro-Wolff, Jimmy Chamorro, and Luis Fernando Duque for a discussion on Colombian legislative priorities vis-a-vis our bilateral interests.

“This is an important moment for Colombia and the U.S,” said Kaine. “If the Colombian government and the FARC can reach an agreement, Colombia will transition into a post-conflict phase with unique governance, economic, and social challenges that will require cooperation, understanding, and commitment from all sides.  The U.S. partnership with Colombia is one of the closest in the region and we can ill-afford to reduce our engagement at this critical juncture.”

On Friday afternoon, Kaine discussed Colombia’s economic and investment outlook with American business leaders, and met with representatives from the Afro-Colombian community for a roundtable on social inclusion.

On Saturday, Kaine traveled to Tolemaida to visit the National Military Training Center and meet with Colombian and U.S. military officials.  He also visited the Regional Helicopter Training Center, which trains students from Colombia and across Latin America, and had an opportunity to meet with U.S. servicemembers stationed at the facility.

“The strong U.S.-Colombia military cooperation we enjoy today would not be possible without the professionalism and dedication of our U.S. military personnel,” Kaine said.  “We need to ensure they have the continued support of the U.S. Congress, including the authorities they need to carry out their mission.”

Earlier this week, Kaine visited Mexico and Honduras with Senator John Cornyn.