U.S. President Barack Obama took a moment during his State of the Union address to the US Congress to announce a tour of Latin American nations.
‘This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances across the Americas,’ the president said Tuesday night.
It will be his first visit to South America and his third visit to Latin America.
The journey will be ‘an important opportunity to strengthen our alliances in the Americas’, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said.
In Brazil, Obama will meet with new President Dilma Rousseff to discuss areas of mutual interest and contribute to developing the ‘excellent relationship’ between the two countries, Hammer said.
Among the areas where US-Brazilian ties are strong, he cited clean energy, global growth, assistance to Haiti and development efforts.
In Chile, Obama will meet for the first time with President Sebastian Pinera to discuss greater bilateral and regional cooperation.
Chile, Hammer emphasised, ‘is one of our closest partners in Latin America’ and has quickly become a regional leader in the area of nuclear security, clean energy and crisis management.
The third phase of the trip, El Salvador, will enable Obama to meet with President Mauricio Funes and to emphasise the ‘tight links’ between the two countries, which are cemented by the large number of Salvadorans in the US and the economic activity that they contribute to creating, Hammer said.