Trump welcomes president of Panama to White House

SATURDAY MAY 26 2007 file

"Things are going well in Panama", added Trump. "Right? Very good job".

"The reality is, sadly, I don't see much difference between the Trump administration and the Obama administration", Chaffetz, the House Oversight Committee chairman, said. Mr. Martinelli presided over the opening of Mr. Trump's hotel in Panama City, Panama, while serving as the country's president in 2011, at which time the two men referred to each other as friends. "The relationship is very strong".

"There is a long friendship between Panama and the United States, and we face the same challenges in the region".

During the meeting, Varela noted that Panama and the USA face the "same challenges" in the region. The canal recently expanded its locks as part of a $5.25 billion expansion project.

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Panama says the two leaders agreed during the meeting to strengthen their coordination in the efforts to fight illegal drugs, address the political situation in Venezuela and address insecurity in Central America. The visit marks their first face-to-face meeting since Trump took office.

Trump has worked to strengthen the US border and reduce the flow of migrants at the start of his administration.

Varela pointed to the "long relationship" between the USA and Panama and said "we face the same challenges in the region".

During their brief discussion in front of reporters, the leaders made no mention of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, who was arrested in Coral Gables, Florida last week. "So, the idea of this visit is to work closely together to face the same challenges that we have in the region of Central America and Latin America and in our continent", President Varela said during the bilateral meeting.

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