This weekend, Ambassador Kirk will accompany President Obama at the sixth Summit of the Americas (SOA) in Cartagena, Colombia. This year’s Summit theme, “Connecting the Americas: Partners for Prosperity,” reinforces the spirit of partnership that has been at the core of the Obama administration’s policy.
Through equal partnership and the power of proximity, the United States is working effectively with an increasingly capable set of partners to address key challenges facing the people of the Americas. President Obama and Ambassador Kirk will focus on advancing core U.S. interests in the region.
At the fifth Summit of the Americas in 2009 in Trinidad & Tobago President Obama challenged the region to embrace regional cooperation based on partnership and shared responsibility. Many nations embraced that call and the results have been significant. Key commitments include:
• Promoting Robust and Inclusive Economic Growth: As improving economic policies governance continues to lift millions of people in the region out of poverty and into the middle class, opportunities for U.S. firms abound, and we are moving decisively to seize them.
• Strengthening Energy Partnerships: The United States receives more than half its imported energy from the Western Hemisphere. Experts believe that proportion will increase significantly in the coming years, making stronger partnerships essential. Canada is our largest supplier of imported energy, and Mexico is our third largest. We also have also launched strategic energy dialogues with Brazil and Colombia – two leading energy exporters of the future.
• Promoting Educational Exchanges for Partners of the Future: The interpersonal and cultural connections that bind the United States and our regional neighbors are among our strongest assets. Through the 100,000 Strong in the Americas, we will increase educational exchanges in both directions by assisting students find opportunities for foreign study and developing public-private partnerships to fund them.
• Improving Citizen Security: The Administration has put the security of people in their daily lives across the Americas at the center of a next-generation citizen security strategy that emphasizes an integrated and multilateral partnership to strengthen the institutions that will build and sustain the rule of law, address the root causes of crime, and guarantee long-term public security.
• Building New Global Partnerships for the 21st Century: The Inter-American Democratic Charter (IADC), a product of the Summit process, is an essential tool for the collective defense of democracy. The United States will continue to work with our strong regional partners through the IADC framework.