Remarks With Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
Secretary of State
SECRETARY KERRY: So let me just say what a great pleasure it is to meet up with President Santos. We have been working closely together over these last few years in an effort to try to encourage the peace process in Colombia with FARC. And I want to express my gratitude and admiration for the significant effort that President Santos has made in order to end the longest conflict in our hemisphere and one of the longest on the planet. This is always difficult work, but I think the president has shown a tenacity and a commitment to this that has been absolutely critical.
It’s been our pleasure to have a special envoy, Bernie Aronson, working with his team. And I’ve had the pleasure also of meeting personally with both the Colombian team that is negotiating as well as the FARC team. We encourage them to bring this to a close. We believe it is possible. And we remain deeply committed to the post-accord process. Colombia will need help. We understand that. And we’re working with the president and with his team to define the details of the demining, which we’re working on with Norway as co-chairs of that effort, also to help with the post-accord implementation, which will require significant global commitment.
So Mr. President, we really encourage these next days to be the days that hopefully can see this important agreement reached, and I want you to know that the United States of America, President Obama, are very committed to not just helping to achieve the document, but to helping achieve a true peace, which is why President Obama spoke of a Paz Colombia. So thank you for your continued efforts and we look forward to working with you tomorrow at the anti-corruption effort.
PRESIDENT SANTOS: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and as I said in the meeting, we are very grateful for the support we have – we’ve seen from the U.S. since the very beginning. It has been crucial support. Your special envoy has made a tremendous job and the support that you have given us in each step of these negotiations has been determining in the success that we are achieving. As you said, I also hope that in the very near future we can finish and then start the construction of the real peace, which is the post-conflict, and there we have already received tremendous help through USAID, through the demining and other aspects of the post-conflict that we are planning together with the United States, some special projects that will make the post-conflict a very beneficial phase of our development, especially in the construction for peace. I think our relationship has been as good as always and we’ll look forward to continue working together until we consolidate peace in our country and continue to work together (inaudible).
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, my friend.