Readout of Vice President Biden’s Meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia
The Vice President met last night with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia in Cartagena, Colombia to discuss bilateral cooperation between the United States and Colombia and the next steps in the Colombian peace process. The Vice President congratulated President Santos on yesterday's vote in the Colombian congress to approve the peace accord negotiated between the Colombian government and the FARC. The Vice President also praised the Colombian people who have worked with courage and unflagging determination to reclaim their country, and whose representatives have now voted to ratify the Colombian peace accord and officially end the longest-running armed conflict in the Americas. The Vice President reiterated the commitment of the United States to support implementation of the peace accords, including demobilization and disarmament of FARC combatants, protection of victims' rights, and application of the transitional justice framework in a transparent manner with the full engagement of civil society. The Vice President emphasized that continuing to engage critics of the peace accord, as well as a renewed focus on counternarcotics, will be essential to maintaining and broadening support for the peace agreement in Colombia and the United States. The Vice President underscored the administration's continuing commitment to its Fiscal Year 2017 budget request of $450 million, which includes $391 million in foreign assistance to implement President Obama's "Peace Colombia" strategy. Both leaders hailed the fact that, after 52 years of violence, it is now possible to envision a hemisphere fully at peace.