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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 3, 1998


On the Visit of President-elect Andres Pastrana of Colombia

President Clinton and President-elect Pastrana of Colombia met at the White House on August 3, 1998. President-elect Pastrana's pre-inaugural visit reflects the importance that the United States attaches to its relationship with Colombia, and the commitment of both leaders to expand cooperation between their governments.

President Clinton congratulated President Pastrana on his electoral victory, and conveyed his admiration for the Colombian peoples' commitment to democracy, which has been demonstrated anew under the most trying of circumstances.

President Pastrana expressed his hopes for bringing about a peaceful resolution of Colombia's long-standing civil conflict, and conveyed his commitment to cooperate fully with the United States to combat the traffic in illegal drugs. President Clinton expressed support for a comprehensive Colombian effort to extend the rule of law, stem narcotrafficking, promote human rights, and launch a meaningful peace process. He promised to work with Congress to secure increased U.S. assistance for counternarcotics, sustainable economic development, the protection of human rights, and humanitarian aid, to encourage private investment, and to join with other donors and the international financial institutions to promote Colombia's economic growth.

Recalling the success of efforts to bring about the peaceful settlement of civil conflicts elsewhere in the hemisphere, President Clinton expressed his support for such a process in Colombia. He stressed that insurgent groups must cut their ties to narcotraffickers and renounce kidnapping and other forms of terrorism. At a time when our hemisphere is increasingly united in a common commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, the two Presidents look forward to Colombia playing an appropriate role in the region and the world, to which its long democratic traditions entitle it.

President Clinton extended, and President-elect Pastrana accepted, an invitation to return to Washington later this Fall for a State Visit.

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