Colombian president asks Trump to support peace deal in call
JOSHUA GOODMAN, Associated Press
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia’s president is asking for President Donald Trump’s support in approving U.S. funding to back the country’s peace deal with leftist rebels.
The request came in a 25-minute phone call Saturday between Trump and President Juan Manuel Santos, the first between the two leaders since the Republican president took office.
The Obama administration laid out a plan of $450 million in assistance this year to support peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
But Congress has yet to approve the funds and some conservative U.S. lawmakers are pushing for bigger concessions from the FARC and a stronger commitment from Santos to eradicate exploding levels of cocaine crops.
According to Santos’ aides, Trump said he was interested in continuing support for Colombia — long the U.S.’s staunchest ally in Latin America. Trump also invited last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner to the White House in a future, undisclosed date, aides said.
Aides released a photo of Santos during the conversation smiling widely. They wouldn’t say if the Colombian leader raised objections shared widely in Latin America over Trump’s proposal to build a wall with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants.
Santos’ aides said Trump praised the high quality of Colombian workmanship and construction materials used to build his real estate empire.