After meeting in Jamaica on April 9 with Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, where they discussed ways in which the United States can support the Caribbean in the areas of citizen security, energy security, and economic competitiveness, President Barack Obama departed for Panama. There he will meet with leaders of Western Hemisphere nations at the Summit of the Americas.
The conference, held every three years, is the seventh regularly scheduled meeting aimed at forging partnerships on regional issues and shared interests. This year’s summit will be President Obama’s third and final one and comes at a pivotal moment in U.S. relations with its neighbors.
The agenda addresses many key topics of mutual interest: education, energy, trade, democratic governance, health, the environment, security, civil society, and migration. Discussions between leaders meeting April 10 and 11 in Panama City will be more than about issues of diplomatic import, but also of practical matters that affect the people of the hemisphere in tangible ways in their day-to-day lives.
At this summit we hope to advance regional efforts aimed at elevating engagement between civil society and governments, promoting educational and cultural exchanges, expanding access to broadband internet and economic opportunities -- particularly for women and youth, and promoting clean energy and climate change cooperation.
The President will showcase our strategy for engagement with Central America and the $1 billion request to deal with issues related to the economic, security and governance challenges that are faced by the governments of Central America. We will do this with the support of Mexico, Colombia, the Inter-American Development Bank, and others.
We will be promoting U.S. exports, reducing barriers to trade and commerce, and taking advantage of the shared infrastructure within the Americas so that we leverage a mutually comparative benefit to other regions in the world. The President will meet with the eight leaders of the Central American Integration System and seek to strengthen their interdependence and regional integration.
Finally, this will be a summit of not only government leaders, but also civil society, business leaders, youth leaders, and university presidents.