Remarks With Peruvian President Ollanta Humala After Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Presidential Palace
Lima, Peru
December 11, 2014

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. The government palace of Peru would like to welcome you. We are now going to begin with the press statements given by the President of Peru Ollanta Humala Tasso and the Secretary of State of the United States of America Mr. John Kerry.

First of all, the Secretary of the United States will take the floor, Mr. John Kerry.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, muchas gracias. Thank you very, very much. It’s a great privilege to be here in Lima, and I’m really happy to be (inaudible). And personally, I wish I could stay much longer because I have heard nothing but incredible rave reviews about Peru’s famous cuisine, and I will miss it this evening. I want to thank President Humala for taking time to sit down with me during a very, very busy week. And I want to congratulate him and I want to congratulate all Peruvians for hosting this very important 20th United Nations Climate Conference of the Parties. I understand this is the largest international event of its kind that Peru has hosted, and I was over there today and saw what a remarkable facility has been built and heard from people how smoothly and effectively this conference has been managed.

The United States is very grateful for Peru’s leadership and hospitality, and obviously we are all hoping for a very successful outcome, which will lead to the conference in Paris next year. This is an important jumping-off point, and I can tell you that as somebody who was involved for 29 years in the United States Senate working on this issue, it is so important that we achieve an agreement ultimately. I had the privilege of speaking at the conference earlier today, and I underscored the urgent need for global cooperation in order to reach an ambitious agreement in Paris. And Peru can be proud that it is making an important down payment and helping to lead people to that agreement.

This is really a defining test of global leadership, and the fact is that Peru and Lima is contributing to that leadership in a very significant way. There’s a lot of hard work to do still. It is going to be a very difficult path, but one that is urgent for the citizens of all of our countries.

My country’s own commitment to this issue is stronger than ever thanks to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. And last month, we were very proud to make two major announcements. First, President Obama joined with President Xi of China to make clear our respective domestic emission targets. And the United States has set a target of reducing emissions by 26 to 28 percent by the year 2025. It’s an ambitious, but we believe it’s an achievable goal. And second, we announced a $3 billion pledge to the Global Green Climate Fund, which, thanks to the recent commitments from a number of countries here in Lima, we now know will track and meet and exceed the goal of $10 billion. That’s a very significant accomplishment to come out of here, Mr. President.

As President Humala and I discussed, climate change and environmental degradation are concerns to both of our countries. And to date, the United States has provided more than $60 million in assistance to Peru as it takes steps to combat climate change and to protect its very beautiful and very diverse resources. And we are also working closely with U.S. businesses and the Peruvian Government to promote effective environmental programs among Peru’s business community.

Of course, the partnership between the United States and Peru extends way beyond important environmental collaboration. Peru is one of our closest partners in this region, and the progress that it has made in recent years in terms of its own economy, lifting people out of poverty, is really a remarkable story. In just the past decade, Peru has lifted millions of people out of poverty.

The range of things that we do together, that we work on together is also very critical: 230 Peace Corps volunteers in Peru support projects related to youth development, entrepreneurship and health to some of the most vulnerable parts of the country. Economically, our bilateral trade has doubled since we began to implement the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement five years ago. On education, last year more than 2,000 Peruvian students studied in the United States.

And in our meeting just now I reiterated my country’s support for Peru’s ambitious 2012-2016 counternarcotics strategy, which is making impressive progress. This year alone, Peru has seized more than 25 metric tons of export-quality cocaine and it has eradicated more than its goal of 30,000 hectares of coca leaf, and that sets a new national record. It’s a critically important step.

At its core, the partnership between Peru and the United States is really about shared values that have come to define both of our nations: democracy, security, respect for human rights, opportunity for all citizens. Peru has played a key role in supporting and defending democracy for years, dating back to when the Inter-American Democratic Charter was adopted right here in Lima back in 2001. Today, Peru’s leadership is hosting the UN Conference of Parties, and doing so underscores how much Peru’s role on the world stage has grown in a significant way.

The U.S.-Peru partnership, I’m happy to say, has grown right along with it, and I look forward to continuing to build on our cooperation in the months and years ahead, and very, very much hope that not just I will be able to visit again in the near future, but maybe President Obama also will be able to come here. So we are very grateful for our hospitality today. Mr. President, thank you for your great accomplishments and thank you for your generous hospitality. Thank you.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Next we will hear the remarks of the President of Peru, Ollanta Humala Tasso.

PRESIDENT HUMALA: (Via interpreter) Mr. Secretary of State John Kerry, (inaudible) the bilateral relations between Peru and the United States (inaudible) experiencing their most optimum times. And this is thanks to the effort of each of the members of the team under Secretary John Kerry, the Obama policies, and, of course, the political will of my administration to work jointly with the United States. I would like to thank you today, particularly Secretary of State John Kerry, for coming to Peru within the framework of the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change, because it shows the true concern of the United States in finding solutions – specific solutions – to this problem that impacts all of us.

I have heard the remarks of Secretary John Kerry within the framework of COP 20 on climate change, and I know he is quite knowledgeable and experienced on this topic. He has participated almost in every aspect of this topic, and from the very beginning he’s been quite practical in pointing out that the United State alone cannot overcome this problem, that we all have to come on board. This is consistent with the position of the Government of Peru, that we all need to participate actively through our national commitments, through our commitments that will help us in mitigating climate change with real measures to reduce two degrees Celsius the world warming.

And the capitalization of the Green Fund – and as I announced yesterday, we have yesterday met the goal we had set ourselves of reaching $10 billion. Today we can say we have exceeded the figure of $10 billion. This view of achieving the $100 billion by 2020 – this is very important, because it shows that the need for nations and human beings to reconcile with the planet is becoming a reality. Also, I think that COP 20 gives us an opportunity. As I said earlier, it gives us a chance to build the biggest alliance humankind has ever seen to face a very real threat, as is say terrorism and drug trafficking, and that we have discovered an alternative way to nuclear energy to destroy the planet. So it is a very real threat.

As a result, all the leaders of the planet need to come together here in Lima. The international community – the entire world – is looking at Lima to see what agreements can be reached so that we can look positively to the next summit in Paris next year.

Also, we have addressed very quickly and with details the bilateral agenda. We have addressed topics such as education, and we have thanked the United States for its cooperation under the Peruvian scholarship system so that we can send more young people to study in the United States. Also, I have mentioned to Secretary of State John Kerry that we have launched a new goal in Peru. We want to turn Peru into a bilingual country by 2021. This means implementing a state policy in education so that all our children can manage a foreign language. We will prioritize English. We have already started in the defense sector, and we are going to expand the program to public schools.

I would also like to mention that we have discussed about cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking. This is a very current matter. We have made progress on this matter, as Secretary Kerry has mentioned. Peru has managed to reach historic points in reducing the hectares of coca plantations. We have eradicated over 31,000 hectares. Considering the historic average of 10,000 hectares, this means a very big effort for the Peruvian state. We have gone into areas for the very first time to eradicate and give these communities a development alternative. This is a key matter so that the peasants and farmers and do not go back to these activities and that – do not see themselves involved in drug trafficking. We believe that the peasants, the farmers of coca leaves are not the first element in the chain but the first victims of drug trafficking.

We have also talked about improving our mechanisms at an administrative and bureaucratic level for foreign trade so that we can benefit U.S. citizens and Peruvian citizens alike thanks to the exchange of our products, so that we can benefit from the free trade agreement we have concluded with the United States. And we can now affirm that we have doubled our trade. This turns the United States into Peru’s first trading partner.

Also, we have been able to exchange ideas on social policies, which is of the utmost importance to us. This administration is strongly committed to social development with social inclusion. This means bringing the state to the remote areas of the country while giving opportunities to vulnerable populations through education. Education to us – John, let me tell you, this is a vital issue. This is the instrument that can be life-changing. Education is the key here. We in Latin America have been used to exploiting commodities, and if we look at our republican history, we can say we have not achieved what we expected by selling gold, silver, and all our other commodities. So now we need to bet for education. On this regard, I have renewed to you our willingness to be strategic partners and move forward on the quality education.

Finally, I’m very sorry that Secretary John Kerry needs to leave soon. Today is his birthday, and it would have been a wonderful opportunity for him to stay and have dinner here in Peru and taste the wonderful Peruvian cuisine. Unfortunately, the life of public officers who have responsibilities is to be in one region one day and be in another region the next day. I understand he has some commitments in Europe, so I want to thank you for this effort in coming down to Peru. I would like to thank your entire delegation for being here, and as you said, hopefully we can soon welcome President Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama. Thank you very much.