Colombian President-elect Cesar Gaviria, who is in the United States on a private visit, met today with President Bush for 30 minutes.
President Bush again congratulated him on his May 27 victory in the Colombian election, a completely open and democratic process. He told President-elect Gaviria that the United States looks forward to working closely with his administration. President Bush asked Gaviria to convey his warmest best wishes to President Barco upon his return to Colombia.
The two leaders also touched on bilateral issues, concentrating principally on the fight against drugs and cooperation in economic relations. With regard to drugs, President Bush briefed President-elect Gaviria on our budget requests for the drug fight for the coming fiscal year. There is currently a request for .5 million in drug-related assistance pending before the Congress, along with an additional request for a regional Economic Support Fund which would include Colombia. In the area of economics, both sides pledged to continue working toward mutually satisfactory agreements on various trade issues.
President Bush also informed President-elect Gaviria that there was no foundation to recent press reports about massive U.S. military involvement in Colombia or other Andean countries. He reaffirmed that our drug interdiction activities in the Andean countries are and will continue to be fully coordinated with the countries.
On economic issues, the two leaders reviewed President Bush's Enterprise for the Americas Initiative as it might apply to Colombia. Colombia was the first country to take up President Bush's offer to negotiate bilateral trade and investment framework agreements, and we have been holding discussions on this.