Good morning. It is a great pleasure for me to welcome Dr. Castro here today. I first met him when he was the incoming foreign minister, and he welcomed me to the Pathways for Prosperity Summit in San Jose. And it’s wonderful for me now to see you, Minister, here in Washington.
We view our relationship with Costa Rica as one of the most important that we have. In this region, the United States is reaching out to nations that share our values and our commitments to solving problems together with its strong democratic institutions, its trailblazing efforts to achieve sustainable, inclusive growth. Costa Rica is a success story, a kindred spirit, and a valued partner and friend.
The foreign minister and I had a very productive discussion about how we can work even more closely together, and we thank Costa Rica for its defense at the United Nations of human rights in Iran and North Korea, Libya, and elsewhere.
We’re also working together to take on the transnational drug trafficking organizations that destroy lives, destabilize societies, and prevent so many across our hemisphere from living up to their own God-given potential.
We are deepening our partnerships on regional security issues with Mexico, Central America, and Colombia, and Costa Rica plays a major role in that. We’re working to – work together on the Central America Regional Security Initiative. And I know from meeting with President Chinchilla that there is so much Costa Rica is already doing, but they face the same problems as their neighbors. And this is an issue that President Obama will be addressing when he is in the region on his trip later this month.
We are also very concerned about the dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. We want to see that resolved in a peaceful solution. We know that there will be a court decision coming from the International Court, and we certainly will continue to support the resolution in accordance with long-established agreements.
I also want to really plug what Costa Rica is doing in clean energy, scientific innovation, even aerospace. And I have to say, I just learned from the minister that they’re working on carbon dioxide-free products, like coffee. At the EARTH University, started 25 years ago with support from USAID, academics and scientists are working to combine clean energy innovation and cutting edge farming. And the United States is proud that, after 25 years and 1,600 hours in space with NASA, Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz is now leading Costa Rica’s efforts to develop an aerospace sector. Dr. Chang-Diaz is one of – is the first Latino to travel in space, and today his daughter is breaking down barriers in our country as the first Latina woman to serve in the Massachusetts State Senate.
I like bragging on Costa Rica, Minister.