Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday, visiting a White House hamstrung by a chaotic week, just one day before the Mr. Trump embarks on his first foreign trip abroad.
The two world leaders, who have spoken twice by phone, will meet in person for the first time in order to establish a closer relationship with the U.S.’s most important partner in counter-narcotics efforts.
With looming budget cuts to foreign aide in the Trump administration’s 2018 budget proposal, Mr. Santos is expected to seek a renewal of $450 million dollars in foreign aide from the U.S. Government in support of Peace Colombia,
Mr. Trump, who met with two former Colombian presidents and opponents of Santos and the peace accord last month, is expected to publicly support the deal alongside the current Colombian President during the course of their meetings. But U.S. financial support for the effort is still in question.
In an interview with El Tiempo on Monday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said that the administration views “the peace process with hope and understands that it is not only good for Colombians but for the region and the United States.”
Colombian Ambassador Juan Carlos Pinzon spoke of the importance of support for the peace efforts from the U.S. to reporters in a briefing on Tuesday but downplayed the importance of a public declaration of support.
“I don’t want to oversimplify the budget, but in policy, love is expressed through the budget,” Mr. Pinzon said.
A budgetary commitment from the White House to renewing the multimillion-dollar package, however, remains in doubt.
“I wouldn’t expect the president to commit to anything,” a White House official told CBS News.
Complicating U.S. support for terms of the agreement has been the worrying boom of cocaine cultivation and production in Colombia since the implementation of Peace…