Secretary Clinton touched down in Bogotá yesterday after attending the Organization of American States General Assembly in Lima, Peru and delivering a major foreign policy speech in Quito, Ecuador. Here in Colombia, she continued making the very most of her regional tour, meeting with President Alvaro Uribe, presidential candidates Antanas Mockus and Juan Manuel Santos, Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez, and a host of other Colombian officials. Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton also found time to sign a Science & Technology Cooperation Agreement, visit a local vocational training facility, and “Meet & Greet” with Embassy Bogotá staff.
Among the ornate chandeliers and hanging tapestries of Colombia's Presidential Palace (Casa de Nariño), Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Bermudez exchanged signatures on a bilateral Science & Technology agreement. Addressing such issues as biodiversity, forestry, water, energy, and health, the agreement will promote innovation via the exchange of information, scientists and resources between both nations.
After a joint press conference with President Uribe, in which Secretary Clinton underscored both the continuity and enhancement of the U.S. commitment to Colombia's security, the Secretary walked through the streets of Bogotá's historic neighborhood (La Candaleria) en route to Fundación Escuela Taller de Bogotá. This vocational training center, which receives support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and proudly promotes the axiom “Learn by Doing,” provides demobilized and otherwise vulnerable Colombian youth with the vocational skills necessary to become productive members of Colombian society. Secretary Clinton expressed her admiration for the students' many accomplishments and sampled a distinctly Colombian pastry from the center's newly opened bakery.
After a very busy 24 hours in Bogotá, Secretary Clinton traveled to Barbados to meet with leaders from the Caribbean nations.