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Obama receives Colombia’s new ambassador

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Colombia news - Urrutia and Obama

Colombia’s new Ambassador to Washington formally initiated his diplomatic labors Wednesday by presenting his credentials to U.S. President Barack Obama.

Carlos Urrutia Valenzuela was appointed as Ambassador by Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos on September 5 with the main objective of promoting investment in his country and strengthening international ties by materializing the promises of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which was recently signed between Colombia and the U.S. in May earlier this year.

“The relationship between Colombia and the United States has never been stronger. As Ambassador, I will work to advance relations between our two countries and to increase cooperation and partnership in all areas, including the effective promotion of the most significant economic agreement in our joint history – the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement,” said Urrutia during a ceremony in the White House.

Urrutia, who is replacing the ex-minister of defense Gabriel Silva as Colombian Ambassador to the U.S., was accompanied by his family and five other diplomats who were also to undergo the same procedure with the U.S. President Obama.

The new Ambassador’s agenda also seeks Washington’s support to include Colombia in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, an agreement of free commerce between countries in the Asian Pacific region. This point was a high priority for Colombia President Santos’ government.

Urrutia will also build upon the longstanding security partnership between the two countries to fight global threats such as drug trafficking, terrorism and transnational organized crime, as well as expand the alliances of education, culture, energy and other sectors.

“My efforts will also focus on helping the people of the United States discover the new Colombia. Our country has changed significantly in the last decade, and I will work to promote greater awareness of Colombia’s rich culture and people, our vibrant and rapidly growing economy, and all of the new opportunities for trade, investment and tourism,” said the new Ambassador.

Urrutia will have his first big opportunity in his new position this Thursday when he participates in a forum about the investment in infrastructure organized by the State Department in which Colombia is one of four invited countries.

The new Colombian Ambassador will be accompanied by the Vice Minister of Commerce Gabriel Duque to the event, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also said to be in attendance.

Throughout his career, Urrutia has been a leader in both the public and private sectors, and has had a successful 35-year career in one of Colombia’s most prestigious law firms.

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