Caribbean Leader meets with US President & Secretary of State – Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton confer with Santo Domingan counterpart for numerous issues
President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez and US President Barack Obama held a half-hour meeting at the White House Oval Office yesterday. Afterwards they addressed the press for seven minutes, but did not take questions from journalists.
The Dominican Republic delegation included Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso, Hacienda Minister Vicente Bengoa, Center for Export and Investment director Eddy Martinez and Ambassador Roberto Saladin.
Representing the US were Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Presidential Senior Advisor and Assistant for Inter-governmental Affairs and Public Engagement Valerie Jarrett, National Security Advisor General James Jones, the Charge D’affaires at the US Embassy in the DR Christopher Lambert, and director of Western Hemisphere Affairs for the National Security Council Dan Restrepo. In their remarks, both Presid
ents referred to the need to enhance cooperation to combat drug trafficking.
In his words to the press, President Obama stressed that there had been “great cooperation” with the DR but that “more needs to be done.” He said that he and Fernandez had discussed how a better job could be done to coordinate international movements, with a focus on both the supply and the demand sides of the equation.
“We discussed the critical issue of drug trafficking and crime and how that has the potential to be destabilizing throughout the region. And we have already seen great cooperation between our countries through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, but more needs to be done. And so President Fernandez and I discussed how we could do a better job coordinating through multinational groupings to address what is a scourge on so many countries. And that involves us dealing both with the supply side of the equation but also the demand side.”
In his remarks to the press, President Fernandez concurred that one of the major concerns shared by the DR and the US is dealing with drug trafficking and transnational crime and the violence these criminal activities have generated. “I think that the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative has been the right path forward,” he said. But he stressed: “And I think now we should move into a more collaborative environment with the other Caribbean nations, Central America, and Mexico. Only by coordinating our efforts can we really defeat this epidemic that has become overwhelming to all of our countries.”