Heather Higginbottom, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, will travel to Colombia with Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations David Robinson, February 17–19, 2016.
Deputy Secretary Higginbottom’s visit underscores the long-standing support of the United States government for Colombia’s efforts for peace. During the visit, she will assess areas for collaboration for the post-peace accord era and analyze how peace accord implementation could change U.S. assistance requirements. She will meet with senior government officials to discuss shared priorities for the U.S.-Colombian partnership. She will engage with representatives from civil society organizations that represent marginalized populations, including women, Afro-Colombians, indigenous, and conflict victims. The Deputy Secretary will also meet with former coca farmers who have transitioned to cacao production, demobilized ex-combatants who are reintegrating into society, and rural police and military officers, to better understand how the United States can best support Colombia’s efforts for peace.
Over the past 15 years, U.S. foreign assistance support has helped Colombia transform itself into a more secure, prosperous and peaceful democracy with a vibrant, free-market economy. This trip will provide an opportunity for follow up on Colombian President Santos’ recent visit to Washington, D.C., where President Obama announced Paz Colombia, a new framework for bilateral cooperation in the event of a peace accord. U.S. assistance under Paz Colombia will support Colombian efforts to provide meaningful justice to victims of the conflict; extend the rule of law and government services to areas previously controlled by the FARC; increase accountability, promote economic development; and maintain Colombia’s security gains.