Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
February 10, 2011
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon. It’s a great pleasure, once again, for me to be meeting with the vice president of Panama. The vice president is here to discuss a number of important issues – first and foremost, the free trade agreement, which the President reiterated our strong support for in the State Of The Union. But we have many matters of concern and interest on our bilateral agenda, as well as what we need to do together to support Latin America, particularly Central America, the Caribbean, and the entire economic and security agenda that we’re pursuing.
So again, Vice President, welcome.
VICE PRESIDENT VARELA: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. I’m very happy to be back in Washington at the State Department with Secretary Clinton in such a special week for trade. This week has been very positive for us, a positive message from President Obama, from Ambassador Ron Kirk, and we are very encouraged that the Administration resolves to address all the outstanding issues with the Panama Free Trade Agreement. And Panama is going to do what it takes to make sure that these treaties move forward.
And I think that moving the treaties forward, sending the right message to international community that U.S. stand – that the U.S. stands a leader for free trade and open market. And it’s also a good message that we’re resonating in Latin America, while their governments are working very hard to balance economic growth with social justice. I think that moving the treaties forward is what should be done and is the best for the Panamanian people, for the American people, for Panamanian American workers, for private sector, and also for governments and for the future of the region.
Also we’re working very close with the President Obama Administration and Secretary Clinton for the future of the regional security in Central America, working very closely in fighting organized crime, and making sure that our country is not used by organized crime to be able to accomplish their goals. So we are looking, in a long-term relationship with the U.S. Government, to build a better future, and at the next meeting of the Organization of American States, we’re looking forward to address some other issues about what – immigration from other countries that is coming to America.
So looking forward for this meeting, and a special moment, we’re – we hope that the situation in Egypt comes for – in a peaceful solution.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Vice President.
VICE PRESIDENT VARELA: Thank you, Secretary Clinton.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.