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US and Uruguay deepen bilateral ties at annual meeting in Washington DC

The United States and Uruguay held their second Annual Bilateral Inter-Ministerial Dialogue in Washington on Feb. 15, 2024. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian A. Nichols and a US delegation of six federal departments and agencies, welcomed Foreign Minister Omar Paganini and the Uruguayan delegation to Washington, D.C. Together, they agreed innovation and common purpose characterized the US-Uruguay relationship and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Building on the June 2023 meeting between Presidents Joseph Biden and Luis Lacalle Pou, the delegations affirmed their common commitment to democratic governance, regional integration, inclusive economic growth, and expanding opportunity through sustainable trade and investment.

With a focus on innovation, the two sides highlighted how their economies work together to create jobs, raise the standard of living, and grow next-generation industries. The US delegation praised Uruguay’s impressive leadership within the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, particularly its active role through the Uruguay Innovation Hub program, the start-up accelerator, and green hydrogen. The Uruguayan delegation thanked the United States for hosting the Americas Partnership Leaders’ Summit at the White House and underscored its efforts to lead an angel investor network. The Uruguayan delegation announced Uruguay’s signing of the Artemis Accords, and the United States agreed to support Uruguay explore civilian and commercial space industries. The United States and Uruguay also reaffirmed their shared commitment to the Partnership for Atlantic Cooperation as an engine of Atlantic regional integration with an emphasis on economic development, environmental protection, and scientific exchange.

The two sides also discussed bilateral trade and investment and agreed to further improve bilateral trade and investment conditions, including an expedited resolution for the ongoing review of agricultural sanitary processes. Both delegations recognized progress toward a Trilateral Cooperation agreement between USAID and the International Cooperation Agency of Uruguay (AUCI) to collaborate on development projects in third countries in the region, with the commitment to finalize a Memorandum of Understanding in the near future. The United States acknowledged Uruguay’s request for assistance with a supply of sterile flies and committed to reevaluating the request in the future and analyzing other options to implement the program as soon as possible.

Both countries also explored innovative solutions to improve security conditions in the region. They agreed to strengthen collaboration in fighting transnational crime and drug trafficking through drug interdiction, law enforcement training, drug treatment, and demand reduction programs. Finally, they discussed the importance of securing regional support for the Multinational Security Support Mission to Haiti.

The US and Uruguayan delegations also signed a modernized Memorandum of Understanding for the US-Uruguay Fulbright Program, establishing a stable annual allocation from both countries. The United States noted Uruguay’s progress toward eligibility for the Visa Waiver Program and reaffirmed its continued support of Uruguay’s efforts. Moreover, both delegations celebrated the signing of the US-Uruguay Global Entry Joint Statement that expressed their commitment to a prompt accession of Uruguay to the Global Entry Program.

The United States recognized Uruguay’s leadership on the international stage, including its votes on resolutions at the United Nations, its clear and consistent criticism of Russia’s unjust war against Ukraine, and its support for the Barbados electoral roadmap agreement to achieve a return to democracy in Venezuela. The Uruguayan delegation thanked the United States for its warm hospitality and commended the successful organization of the Annual Bilateral Inter-Ministerial Dialogue. Both sides reaffirmed their desire to continue working closely together at the bilateral, regional, and international levels.

The Uruguayan delegation invited the United States to Uruguay for the next annual meeting in 2025.

Source: Merco Press