What, exactly, did you tell President Uribe of Colombia? The reporting below suggests the free trade agreement is a done deal, but after the election:
WASHINGTON, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Colombia President Alvaro Uribe said on Friday that he hoped U.S. lawmakers would quickly approve a bilateral free-trade agreement signed two years ago and stalled in Congress for months.
’We are hopeful that we can at any moment have the approval of the U.S. Congress of the Colombia free-trade agreement,’ Uribe said in a speech at the Brookings Institution.
Uribe acknowledged, in response to a question, that he talked by telephone on Thursday with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who has been opposed to the Colombia pact.
’It was a constructive telephone conversation,’ Uribe said, adding he needed to be prudent in answering whether Obama indicated he would be open to a vote on the pact this year.
’I know how difficult it is to talk about politics in times of hot politics,’ Uribe said.
Obama, like many other Democrats, has said Colombia must do more to reduce murders and other violence against trade unionists before Congress votes on the pact.
But Colombia has said it hopes Congress will approve the agreement in a ‘lame duck’ session after the Nov. 4 congressional and presidential elections.