The Miami Herald
October 29, 1998
Colombia's Pastrana, Clinton sign anti-drug pact

             By GEORGE GEDDA
             Associated Press

             WASHINGTON -- President Clinton and Colombian President Andres Pastrana
             signed a joint agreement Wednesday committing their nations to cooperate in
             combating drug trafficking and consumption.

             ``The fight against drugs is our joint responsibility,'' Clinton said at a Rose Garden
             news conference. ``It must unite us, not divide us.''

             Pastrana hailed the renewed cooperation between the United States and
             Colombia, not only on anti-drug trafficking efforts, but also on the environment,
             education and economics.

             ``United, there is much we can achieve,'' Pastrana said.

             During a joint news conference, Clinton said they also agreed to use proceeds
             from assets seized from drug traffickers to bolster Colombian counternarcotics
             enforcement efforts.

             In addition, he said the United States will provide $280 million in new assistance to
             Colombia for the fight against drugs as well as for economic development.

             Earlier, Pastrana opened his state visit by promising to seek a ``renewed
             partnership'' with the United States and to work toward creation of a drug-free

             Pastrana said he will ``act now to achieve the dreams of peace, to end the fear and
             the killing and the corruption, and begin a new era of social and economic justice.''

             During the South Lawn news conference, Clinton praised Pastrana for his
             ``courage and determination'' in efforts to end Colombia's three-decades-old civil

             ``As you embark on your mission to build an honorable and enduring peace, count
             on the United States as a friend and partner. Count on us, too, as you work to
             bring prosperity to all Colombians,'' Clinton said.

             Clinton called on leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups to respond to
             Pastrana's ``bold initiative for peace by ending terrorism, hostage-taking and
             support for drug traffickers.''

             The ceremony, darkened by gray skies, featured a 21-gun salute and full military
             honors for Pastrana, who took office less than three months ago.

             U.S.-Colombian relations were strained during the four-year tenure of Pastrana's
             predecessor, President Ernesto Samper, who was suspected of ties to Colombian
             narcotics traffickers.

             Alluding indirectly to that trying period, Pastrana said, ``I come here to inaugurate
             a new era of relations between Colombia and the United States.''

             Pastrana had indicated beforehand that he did not wish his visit to become a drug
             summit but he dealt with that issue forcefully during the arrival ceremony.

             He said narcotics traffickers will be ceded no territory or sanctuary under his
             presidency. But, suggesting that he gives first priority to reaching a peace
             agreement with them, he said, ``The only peace treaty acceptable to me and the
             Colombian nation is one that strengthens our ability to rid Colombia of cocaine

             Clinton said, ``We will work together to combat illegal drugs. We have worked
             together, but we must do more -- for both our peoples have suffered greatly from
             the drug trade and its brutality.

             ``The battle against drugs is a common battle,'' Clinton said. ``It must unite our
             people, not divide them.''

             Beside his meetings with U.S. officials, Pastrana has appointments with top
             officials at the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

             Colombia is the world's leading source of cocaine, and that issue is high on the
             agenda for U.S. officials as Pastrana makes the rounds in Washington over the
             next three days. American officials are expected to ask him about a fungus being
             tested by U.S. scientists that is touted by advocates as an environmentally safe
             way to eradicate narcotics plants.

             They see it as potentially a major breakthrough in the war on drugs. They also
             acknowledge that Colombia will show little interest unless viable alternatives can
             be found for the country's coca farmers.

             Colombia is one of the hemisphere's most deeply troubled countries. More than a
             million Colombians have been driven from their homes as a result of a conflict that
             involves the armed forces, leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups.


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