Relations between the United States and Colombia are deeper, stronger, and transformational. As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton observed at the recent U.S.-Colombian High-Level Partnership Dialogue: "We’ve been working closely together for a long time, but I really believe this dialogue represents a deeper engagement than we’ve ever had before. Certainly during the ’90s. . .we began a very close working relationship on behalf of security. But now, given the extraordinary gains that Colombia has made, the United States wants to support the priorities that President [Juan Manuel] Santos is able to promote, to build on an environment that does provide more physical security, to move now to human security and all of the issues that go with economic growth, with social and cultural transformation."
Recently, Colombia passed the Victims' Law to compensate the victims of Colombia's decades-long conflict. For millions of Colombians, it could mean the return to lands they were forced to flee. The United Nations refugee agency estimates 3.4 million Colombians are internally displaced. The Victims' Law marks a new chapter for Colombia. The Victims' Law was one of many important subjects discussed at the partnership dialogue's Democracy, Human Rights and Good Governance Working Group.
In the Energy Working Group, both sides discussed ways to expand the partnership between Colombia and the United States on fossil fuels and clean energy and cited Colombia's efforts through the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas to promote electrical interconnection in the Andes as well as with Chile and Panama.
In the Culture and Education Working Group, both countries discussed how to expand access to education, improve English proficiency, preserve ancient cultures, and optimize people-to-people exchanges. The Social and Economic working group discussed Colombia's national development plan and how the United States can help Colombia ensure development reaches those who need it most.
Secretary Clinton expressed strong support for the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia, which may be submitted to the U.S. Congress soon for approval. The agreement, she said, will bring jobs and growth to both countries. It will also help to consolidate the economic and security gains that Colombia has made in recent years. In addition, Secretary Clinton expressed her appreciation for the role that Colombia has played in reintegrating Honduras into the Organization of American States.
"On so many fronts," said Secretary Clinton, "this is a relationship that is on a solid foundation but has the opportunity to become so much more for the benefit not only of the people of Colombia," but also for the people of the United States.