LatinNews Daily - 14 March 2022

Colombia’s Duque visits Washington

Colombia: On 10 March, Colombia’s President Iván Duque met US President Joe Biden in Washington. The meeting took place amid bilateral tensions following a recent visit by a US delegation to Caracas which fuelled speculation that the US might lift oil sanctions on Venezuela. However, a joint statement released following the meeting reiterated that “the restoration of democracy” is necessary to “bring an end to the political, economic, and humanitarian crises” in Venezuela – implying that the US is not about to abandon its long-running pressure on the Nicolás Maduro administration without first securing democratic reforms. In a further sweetener for the Duque administration, Biden announced plans to grant Colombia ‘Major Non-NATO Ally’ status, a designation for close US allies outside of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). While in the US Duque met various politicians and leaders including US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on 7 March, at CERAWeek, an annual forum for leaders in global energy held in Houston. Duque tweeted that he and Kerry discussed Colombia’s planned steps towards a clean energy transition, ensuring that the private sector commits to zero emissions, and the country’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2050. Kerry highlighted Colombia’s recent progress on climate change and praised its pledge to classify 30% of territory as protected land. As well as meeting Kerry, Duque gave a special address to energy leaders and entrepreneurs at CERAWeek, in which he highlighted his country’s recent environmental achievements and positioned Colombia as a leader in the energy transition market in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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