of Bush-Uribe press statement at the White House, Washington, June
BUSH: Thank you all for coming. It's my honor to welcome back
to the Oval Office mi amigo, el Presidente. Mr. President, we're
glad you're here. This is my first chance to be able to congratulate
the President for a very strong victory. I asked him what it's
like to win with a lot of votes. He was obviously a good campaigner
that had a message that the Colombian people appreciated. So first
of all, congratulations for a grand victory.
President Uribe is a personal friend. I'm able to talk very frankly
with him about a variety of subjects. I told him that one of the
things I admire is he's a strong believer in democracy, human
rights, human dignity. He's got a tough job in dealing with narco-terrorist
groups in his country, but he's committed to dealing firmly with
narco-terrorism. He's committed to helping reconcile past differences.
He's committed to helping people get back into society. And I
appreciate those commitments. He's committed to human rights.
talked about trade. We negotiated a free trade agreement. We've
still got some details to work out, but we committed ourselves
to working out those details and try to get this done as quickly
as we can. I will submit the agreement to Congress once it gets
done, and I would hope members of both political parties understand
the importance of a free trade agreement with this vital ally
talked about the neighborhood. We talked about -- he came from
a meeting with some of the Andean neighbors and he brought messages
and he shared some thoughts with me. I appreciate strategizing
with the President about how to make sure our neighborhood is
a peaceful and hopeful place.
told President Uribe that one of the things I will do a better
job of is communicating to the people of South America and Central
America my country's desire to promote justice and education and
health. We spend about $1.6 billion a year in Central and South
America. I want the people to understand that money is meant to
help them, to help improve their lives. I want the people to understand
America is a considerate country, that we care about justice.
so, Mr. President, I am really pleased you're here. It's good
to see you again. And, again, congratulations on a great victory.
URIBE: Thank you, Mr. President. I want to repeat my gratitude
to your government, to you personally, to your Congress, to the
U.S. public opinion, for the permanent support of my country.
I appreciate your friendship, your permanent advice, and we have
many challenges before us.
challenge is that Colombia can overcome this long nightmare of
terrorism. I understand the mandate my fellow country citizens
have given me to work harder, and with better results, for my
country to get peace, and the United States cooperation is necessary.
In the last two years we have not gotten the (inaudible) result
in dropping the areas with illegal drugs. One point we have studied
this morning with President Bush is how to speed up the eradication
of drugs, because we need to show better results in this area.
of course, as President Bush has informed to you, we spoke about
our free trade agreement, and some pending points. And we spoke
about the necessity in Colombia and to all the Central American
and South American countries to improve social cohesion. For I
thank President Bush, he's willing to bring (inaudible) and determination
to help us in education, in social issues, because we need to
conduct hand-in-hand our fight against terrorism with our fight
to create social cohesion, not only in Colombia, but in the whole
region, as well.
BUSH: Gracias, amigo. Thank you very much.
12:12 P.M. EDT
June 15, 2006, this document was also available online at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/06/20060614-1.html