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Embassy Events 2012

Statement by the Joint Commission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and the United States of America

February 28, 2012
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Kevin Whitaker (l) and Bolivian Minister for Development Planning Elba Viviana Caro (r) led the delegations' discussions in support of stronger and deeper bilateral relations (Courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Kevin Whitaker (l) and Bolivian Minister for Development Planning Elba Viviana Caro (r) led the delegations' discussions in support of stronger and deeper bilateral relations (Courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Kevin Whitaker (l) and Bolivian Foreign Minister Choquehuanca (r) greet each other at the opening of the High Level Joint Commission Meeting at the Foreign Ministry (Photo Courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary Kevin Whitaker (l) and Bolivian Foreign Minister Choquehuanca (r) greet each other at the opening of the High Level Joint Commission Meeting at the Foreign Ministry (Photo Courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The High-Level Bolivia-U.S. Joint Commission, established by the Framework Agreement of November 7, 2011, met today in its inaugural session to promote measures to strengthen and enhance cooperation and bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect and shared responsibility.

The High-Level Joint Commission, headed by Minister for Development Planning Elba Viviana Caro and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kevin Whitaker as Co-Chairpersons,  exchanged views regarding the bilateral agenda and regional and international issues in support of stronger and deeper relations, respecting the sovereignty of both states.

The Joint Commission addressed topics related to judicial cooperation, development cooperation, trade cooperation, counternarcotics cooperation, multilateral cooperation, and other matters of common interest.

Regarding development cooperation, the Joint Commission members agreed to efforts to support the Bolivian National Development Plan, including through U.S. support for health, economic development, the environment, municipal strengthening, integrated development, and food security programs. The members reiterated their commitment to the promotion of human, economic, social, and cultural development in an environmentally-sustainable manner. The High-Level Joint Commission established the mechanisms to continue advancing effective implementation of programs and projects in areas of mutually-agreed cooperation as mandated by the Framework Agreement.

Also, both governments reiterated their commitment to enhance trade relations through a meeting of the Bilateral Trade and Investment Council to take place this year, where appropriate measures and instruments will be identified to foster trade and improve conditions for development.

Both governments expressed their will to speed up cooperation mechanisms as well as to exchange information on judicial cooperation and extraditions.

The Joint Commission reviewed strategies and policies for effective action against illicit narcotics production and trafficking, on the basis of shared responsibility.  The members welcomed and praised the accelerated nationalization of Bolivia's counternarcotics program, along with recent successes in eradication and increased cooperation with neighboring states and other partners.   Both governments underscored the importance of continuing to work jointly with other international partners on this issue.

Both countries expressed their satisfaction with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Technical Support for the Pilot Program on the Integrated Monitoring System for Surplus Coca Reduction, signed jointly with Brazil, which aims to help Bolivia develop a monitoring and control system for the reduction of surplus coca cultivation.

The Joint Commission also welcomed Resolution A/RES/66/221 declaring 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa, which was approved by consensus on December 22, 2011, during the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly and committed to consider joint actions, including through the private sector, to improve production and increase exports.

Additionally, the High-Level Joint Commission wished success to the upcoming 42nd General Assembly of the Organization of American States to take place in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on June 3-5, 2012, at which the topic of food security with sovereignty will be addressed, a topic of particular interest for both countries.

The Joint Commission witnessed the signing of the Assistance Agreement between the Plurinational State of Bolivia and the United States of America to Reduce Social Exclusion from Healthcare in Designated Areas of Bolivia in support of the Bolivian Ministry of Health's reforms and efforts to improve the quality of care. The $22 million, six-year USAID assistance program will contribute to advancing the Bolivian government's reforms to strengthen operations management, increase access to improved health care and address the needs of underserved rural communities.

Both sides reaffirmed the commitments of their governments to approach all issues in the cooperative spirit of the Framework Agreement, with mutual respect and constructive, open dialogue.

In recognition of their determination to renew and advance relations, Bolivia and the United States confirmed their intention to return ambassadors to both Washington and La Paz.  

Finally, the Co-Chairpersons expressed mutual satisfaction for the outcomes of the High-Level Joint Commission meeting.