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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 4, 2008
President Bush Discusses Colombia, Urges Congress to Pass Trade Agreement
1:05 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: This morning I spoke to President Uribe of Colombia. He updated me on the situation in his country, including the continuing assault by narco-terrorists, as well as the provocative maneuvers by the regime in Venezuela.
I told the President that America fully supports Colombia's democracy, and that we firmly oppose any acts of aggression that could destabilize the region. I told him that America will continue to stand with Colombia as it confronts violence and terror and fights drug traffickers.
President Uribe told me that one of the most important ways America can demonstrate its support for Colombia is by moving forward with a free trade agreement that we negotiated. The free trade agreement will show the Colombian people that democracy and free enterprise lead to a better life. It will help President Uribe counter the radical vision of those who are seeking to undermine democracy and create divisions within our hemisphere.
Our country's message to President Uribe and the people of Colombia is that we stand with our democratic ally. My message to the United States Congress is that this trade agreement is more than a matter of smart economics, it is a matter of national security. If we fail to approve this agreement, we will let down our close ally, we will damage our credibility in the region, and we will embolden the demagogues in our hemisphere.
The President told me that the people across the region are watching to see what the United States will do. So Republicans and Democrats in Congress need to come together and approve this agreement. By acting at this critical moment, we can show the Colombian people and millions across the region that they can count on America to keep its word, and that freedom is the surest path to prosperity and peace.
Thank you very much.
END 1:08 P.M. EST