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Colombian President Calls for Trade to Integrate the Hemisphere

Pres. Uribe looks ahead to a closer relationship.

Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2005 - President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia has called on U.S. President Bush to use the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) to establish an equality-based relationship between the hemisphere's countries as a first step toward integration of the Americas.

In an exclusive interview with the Voice of America, President Uribe said, "It is important to achieve a free trade agreement that is well balanced. It is important to send to Latin America permanent and stable signals of a relationship that is based in equality and friendship between the United States and Latin America." He expressed hope that U.S. commercial agreements with Chile, along with Central American and some Andean countries, "be considered as the first steps toward the integration of the Americas."

The U.S. is strongly committed to establishing the FTAA, and is negotiating bilateral agreements to advance trade liberalization throughout the hemisphere.

The interview aired during today's Foro Interamericano, VOA's weekly Spanish-language television program which airs on Fridays. VOA also airs three hours of radio broadcasts daily and a weekday television news program, Desde Washington. All programs are available at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in Spanish and 43 other languages.

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