Statement by the President: Travel to Colombia (8/4/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                    (Martha?s Vineyard, Massachusetts)

For Immediate Release                                     August 4, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     I am pleased to announce I will travel on August 30 to Colombia to
meet with President Andres Pastrana and to personally underscore America?s
support for Colombia?s efforts to seek peace, fight illicit drugs, build
its economy, and deepen democracy.  I am delighted that Speaker Dennis
Hastert and Senator Joe Biden, two longtime champions of peace and
democracy in Colombia, will join me on the trip.

     Colombia?s success is profoundly in the interest of the United States.
A peaceful, democratic, and economically prosperous Colombia will help to
promote democracy and stability  throughout the hemisphere.

     I have also signed a Presidential Decision Directive ordering, as a
matter of national priority, an intensified effort to aid the Colombian
government in implementing Plan Colombia -- President Pastrana?s bold plan
to build a better future for his country.

     The Presidential Decision Directive complements and supports the $1.3
billion assistance package that I requested from Congress, and that
Democrats and Republicans passed in a bipartisan spirit last month.  The
cornerstone of our Colombia Initiative, this supplemental includes a
ten-fold increase in U.S. funds to promote good government, judicial
reform, human rights protection, and economic development in Colombia.  It
will help Colombia strengthen its democracy while helping the government
staunch the flow of drugs to our shores.

     This Directive, along with the sharp increase in funding from
Congress, will intensify our efforts to help the Colombian government
implement its comprehensive national strategy.   It is the right way to
advance America?s interests in the region, and I am proud of the bipartisan
effort that has made it possible.


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