Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met Thursday with President Trump, hoping to secure guarantees for a continuation of millions of dollars in U.S. aid as his country emerges from half a century of civil war.
Publicly, Trump gave no such commitment during a joint news conference with Santos in the White House East Room.
Trump did not mention Colombia’s hard-fought peace process until a reporter asked about it. He then praised Santos’ efforts.
“There’s nothing tougher than peace,” Trump said, “and we want to make peace all over the world.”
Trump focused on fighting drug trafficking and on potential trade deals, as well as the wall he has promised to build along the border with Mexico.
Santos listed his country’s needs for postwar reconstruction, including rebuilding roads and other infrastructure, resettling displaced peasants and demobilized guerrilla fighters, creating new judicial mechanisms and eradicating coca crops.
President Trump and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, met Tuesday at the White House amid sharp disagreement over the war in Syria but eager to improve relations after the Obama era.
It was Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan, who has consolidated power since a failed military coup last summer. Since then, his government has arrested or fired tens of thousands of political opponents, journalists, judges, academics, teachers and others.
In a joint appearance at the White House, Trump lavished praise on Erdogan — although he repeatedly mispronounced the Turkish leader’s name — as the ruler of a key Muslim ally and one of the largest members of the NATO military alliance.
He said Turkey remains a valuable partner in anti-terrorism operations and helps ensure that Islamic State and other terrorist groups in the region “have no safe quarter.”
Turkey’s security forces play a key role in intercepting foreign fighters moving to or from the war in neighboring Syria and onward to Europe. The nation also hosts a major U.S. air base that is crucial for coalition operations in Iraq and Syria.
Trump did not mention the issues that most deeply divide Washington and Ankara, but Erdogan did in a lengthy statement.
President Trump awaits the arrival of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the White House. President Trump arrives at his Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., on May 14, 2017.