John Kerry, Panama Vice President Meet

Above: Panama Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado

By the Caribbean Journal staff

United States Secretary of State John Kerry met Tuesday in Washington with Panama’s Vice President, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado.

The talks were a continuation of discussions between the US and Panama held at the recent inauguration of Panama’s new President, Juan Carlos Varela.

“We’re very much interested in the initiatives that the president and his administration are taking, very focused right now on domestic issues in Panama, particularly on water and sanitation issues but also obviously on the economy and the budget,” Kerry said ahead of the talks. “’re also very much looking forward to the Summit of the Americas, which is an important moment of leadership for Panama, and we look forward to a summit that will particularly, we hope, focus on all of the issues of security and concern between us but also issues of democracy and human rights, which are important in the Americas.”

The trip marked the Vice President’s first official visit to the United States.

She said that Panama and Varela’s foreign policy priorities were based on Panama being “a country that promotes dialogue, Panama as a country that promotes consensus building, Panama as a country that helps bridges – build bridges among countries.”

Also on the agenda was the upcoming seventh Summit of the Americas, which will be held in the Caribbean Basin country next April.

“We expect President Obama to be present and the rest of the leaders of the region, and we do hope to be able, during the summit, to discuss issues of importance and of relevance to the region in terms of development, in terms of migration, in terms of other issues, such as energy, and of course, in terms of the priorities of the summit, such as democracy and human rights,” she said.