Trump welcomes Colombian President to White House

US President Donald Trump welcomed his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, to the White House, officials said. His government signed a peace accord previous year with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, ending one of the world's bloodiest and longest-running armed conflicts.

A State Department study released in March estimated coca crops at 470,000 acres a year ago, 50% more plantings than estimated in 1999, before the United States began dispersing aid under Plan Colombia.

After their joint press conference President Trump took media questions.

Trump said "a stable and peaceful Venezuela is in the best interest" of the hemisphere, describing it as a "very, very awful problem" and "from a humanitarian standpoint, like nothing we've seen in quite a long time".

"Santos needs to convince Trump that the peace process coincides fully with the objectives of fighting drug trafficking, violence, and terrorism in the region", Silva said. Since then, the peace deal has been strongly challenged in Colombia by a conservative opposition party, and was even voted down in a plebiscite.

Trump also said he would announce his pick to succeed Comey soon, and told reporters in the Oval Office with Santos just before their joint press conference that 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee and former Connecticut Sen. For the first time in many decades, we are living in a hemisphere free of war. The U.S. has partnered in the past with Colombia to try to offer both carrots and sticks to the farmers who grow the raw materials for cocaine.

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"The only people who will benefit are the drug traffickers" if US aid is cut, Juan Carlos Pinzon, the Colombian ambassador in Washington, told reporters before Santos' visit. "We are seizing enormous amounts of tons of cocaine", he said, adding that each year they confiscate more of the illegal substance.

He pointed to a number of areas the USA and Colombia are working together to fight the worldwide drug trade and said that they had agreed to double down on that commitment in the meeting at the White House.

While Trump faces controversy on the home front, his meeting with the Colombian president also brought with it another set of challenges.

While not much more was said publicly by Trump - and nothing in regards to the many development and social programs included within the nation's peace agreement - Colombia's president said that he will walk away from their meeting encouraged that the two countries can continue to work together on their shared goals.

TRUMP: That was a long and very diplomatic answer to your question.

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