Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks at the U.S.-Colombia High-Level Dialogue – n7t

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Buenos días a todos.   Fantastic to be right here with all of you, with each of those outstanding groups, the groups behind the groups, as a result of we all know the place the actual work will get executed.  We’re grateful to all of you.  And Marta Lucia, thanks a lot for internet hosting us.  I had the prospect to welcome you to the State Division just a few months in the past, so I’m very grateful to be right here in Bogota, to the Palacio San Carlos, and to be with all of you.

So that is, actually, the ninth Excessive-Stage Dialogue.  I’m not new to the Excessive-Stage Dialogue.  I really participated in no less than two of them, possibly even three of them, again in 2015, 2016.  And I believe what the continuity tells you is that this relationship transcends any administration or any political get together in both of our international locations, and that’s vital.  It additionally extends far past our governments, civil society, the non-public sector, households, communities.  So whereas this Excessive-Stage Dialogue is happening, there are numerous different dialogues occurring each single day at each degree between Colombians and Individuals, and that basically is the material that joins us.

I believe if anybody wanted to be satisfied of the breadth and depth of the connection between our international locations, the areas that we’re engaged on collectively, which are having an affect on the lives of our residents, all they needed to do was take heed to the vp, as a result of with great eloquence, you coated a lot that we’re engaged on collectively.  And I believe that’s proof of the whole lot that brings us collectively.

The core focus of this journey for me, my first journey to South America as Secretary of State, is how we will make democracies ship for our individuals.  That’s our widespread problem; it’s our widespread accountability.  And that’s true in our international locations, and it’s true throughout the hemisphere.  And we all know that a technique we will ship is by working carefully with our companions and allies on the most important challenges we face.  And that’s precisely what the US and Colombia are doing.

Immediately’s dialogue, as you heard, will contact on a lot of them.  However let me simply concentrate on just a few, as a result of I believe they stand out at this explicit second:  COVID-19, the local weather disaster, the migration problem.  The best way we’re tackling these challenges reveals some defining traits of the partnership between our international locations.  And I believe it is going to inform most of the discussions that we’re all going to have as we speak.

First, we’ve to confront these vexing challenges collectively, as a result of they’re just too huge and too advanced for both of us to handle alone.  That could be a defining precept of what brings us right here as we speak.  The local weather disaster, for instance, no nation – no group of nations, even, can do sufficient alone to restrict the Earth’s warming to 1.5 levels Celsius, which science tells us is our ceiling if we wish to keep away from disaster.  Within the pandemic, the unfold of the virus in all places – wherever, excuse me, threatens individuals in all places.  We all know that.

Second, in addressing these challenges, we each should cope with the fast penalties, but additionally, on the identical time, we’ve to work to long-term, sustainable options.  COVID-19 – we’ve offered from the US six million doses of secure, efficient vaccines to Colombia.  We donated over $80 million in funding to help efforts to beat again the virus.  When the virus surged right here and the nation’s ICUs had been overwhelmed, we despatched greater than 200 ventilators to Colombia.

In the meantime, we’re deepening cooperation between the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention and Colombia’s Nationwide Public Well being Institute to strengthen Colombia’s public well being system and safety, from higher integrating using knowledge, to bolstering emergency preparedness and response.  And that’s not solely going to assist with this pandemic; it is going to assist stop, or if needed, cope with the subsequent one.

Third, we’re utilizing our alliance to mannequin the sorts of collaborative responses that we wish to see on the earth and marshaling better regional collaboration.  Migration that we spent yesterday targeted on.  Colombia and the US are working hand-in-hand to take care of the pressing humanitarian wants of 1.8 million displaced Venezuelans in Colombia, thanks largely to the outstanding generosity of President Duque and the Colombian individuals.  On the identical time, we’re encouraging companions in our area to affix the trouble to handle this and different migration challenges within the hemisphere, which was the intention of the ministerial-level assembly that we held yesterday that our two nations convened collectively.

Fourth, we’re specializing in addressing the foundation causes of those challenges, not simply the signs.  Inequity, discrimination, corruption, and the shortage of entry to alternative underlie many of those challenges, and so they should be addressed if we’re critical about overcoming them.  Collectively, we’re discovering progressive methods to do precisely that.  A number of discussions as we speak will contact on this urban-rural hole that you just talked about, Marta Lucia, and the digital divide that usually comes with it.  Increasing rural broadband, which is vital to employment, to schooling, even entry to fundamental companies within the twenty first century.  It’s an issue that each of our nations must make nice strides on and study from one another as we go alongside, if we’re going to truly ship for all of our communities.

And tackling root causes is critically vital to a different key concern that cuts throughout as we speak’s dialogue, and that’s safety.  We’re as dedicated as ever to working with Colombia on implementation of the peace accords.  However as we supply this work ahead, the US is bringing a brand new, extra complete method to selling safety.  The method maintains a agency pillar of cooperation on strengthening legislation enforcement and our efforts to scale back violence, significantly in underserved rural communities, the place the state, as we’ve heard, has restricted albeit rising presence.

The method retains human rights at its core.  We’re persevering with to concentrate on constructing the capability and assets of prosecutors, judges, and different key actors to make sure accountability for human rights violations and abuse, and we’re working collectively to enhance the safety of journalists, human rights defenders, and different courageous advocates within the face of ongoing threats and assaults.  However our new method additionally seeks to broaden the instruments that we’ve at our disposal and that we use by doing issues like growing extra inclusive financial alternative for younger individuals, who in any other case may really feel that they don’t have any different choice in addition to illicit exercise.  And investing in substance abuse prevention, remedy, restoration, which is not going to solely assist these scuffling with habit, but additionally scale back the demand of the US, which is fueling a lot legal exercise.

Fifth, each certainly one of these challenges can be a chance – a chance to Construct Again Higher, to repair components of our system which may be damaged.  That’s finally what democracy is all about.  Each of our international locations have made bold commitments to chop emissions and adapt to the inevitable adjustments to our local weather that we’re already seeing.  As President Biden has made clear, the investments required to fulfill these commitments characterize once-in-generations alternative to spend money on good-paying jobs that will even protect our majestic planet, and to create these alternatives in communities which have constantly been marginalized just like the Afro-Colombian neighborhood, the indigenous communities on this nation, black and brown communities in the US.

Construct Again Higher World, which the vp talked about, is a technique we assist – we hope and assist to create these alternatives collectively, not simply in local weather, however in infrastructure, by deepening social and financial help for working households.  There’s so much that we will and can do with Construct Again Higher World.  We had been more than happy to have a few of our consultants right here, as you famous, in current weeks speaking to our companions in Colombia about that, and I believe there’ll be tons extra to say about that within the coming months.

Critically, we’ll do that in a manner that’s according to our two international locations’ values: transparency, environmental sustainability, empowering native communities.  All of this stuff are important within the method that we’re taking.

We’ve heard as nicely – and I simply wish to say a be aware about this – on the significance and, I believe, vitality of exchanges between our international locations in all totally different areas from arts to tradition, to academia, science and know-how, STEM.  I’m a profound believer in these, in these exchanges.  I believe that they do extraordinary issues in growing understanding and ties between our international locations that final for years and generations.  And in addition, they create proficient younger individuals collectively, and whenever you carry proficient younger individuals collectively, the outcomes are extraordinary.

Now, as I wish to say, even when I used to be not a agency believer in these packages, I’d don’t have any selection as a result of my spouse was the assistant secretary of state for Schooling and Cultural Affairs, liable for these packages.  However I strongly imagine in them.  I hope that our teams will proceed to seek out methods to energise them.  After all, COVID has made issues tough, however I imagine we’ve to construct again higher there as nicely.

One remaining level:  This relationship persists, certainly it will get stronger, as a result of it continues to evolve.  It continues to evolve to replicate the wants, the hopes, the aspirations of our individuals, similar to our democracies.  That’s what it’s all about.  Marta Lucía, you stated at dinner final night time one thing I took be aware of.  This work, these teams are very, essential.  And the conversations that we’re going to have as we speak, the work we’re doing as we speak, all of you’re doing as we speak is essential.  However we’ve to maneuver from the conversations, we’ve to maneuver from the discussions, we’ve to maneuver from the dialogue to, as you stated, motion and outcomes.  So we wish to all of you, our colleagues, to assist us do this, to realize that, and to hold the US and Colombia ahead.


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