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US should look south for strategic interests: Colombia

27 september 2013, 11:29
The United States' key strategic partnerships lie to its south, but President Barack Obama failed to mention them in his address to the United Nations, AFP reports citing Colombia's leader.

"I was a bit sad yesterday (Tuesday) when President Obama did not mention Latin America a single time in his speech," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said at a business forum in New York.

When Obama addressed the UN General Assembly, he touched on China, the Pacific, and the Middle East -- but "the United States' real strategic interest lies south" of its border with Mexico, Santos stressed.

The call was all the more dramatic coming from Santos.

He is the United States' closest ally in a sprawling region of more than 30 nations from Mexico through Central America and South America.

Other than Colombia, Latin America more broadly has moved away from the close alliance with the United States most of it had with Washington during the Cold War era.

The United States remains an important business and trade partner but as its regional influence has receded, China's has risen massively with its many billion-dollar investments in raw materials and mining.

Venezuela's influence has also risen among a group of smaller, left-leaning countries to which it supplies cut-rate oil and cooperation deals. Venezuela, which helps keep afloat the region's only Communist regime in Cuba, also has pursued close ties to Iran.

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