Cartagena (Colombia), Jan 3 (IANS) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Colombian President Ivan Duque have vowed to take steps to reduce coca production by 50 per cent by 2023.
Pompeo said in a meeting here with Duque that he is “deeply concerned” about the increased production of coca leaf, the raw material for cocaine, in Colombia, the BBC reported on Thursday.
A recent UN report said the amount of agricultural land used for coca crops in Colombia had hit record levels.
The country has fought for years to tackle cocaine production, with the US providing around $400 million annually to help combat the producers and traffickers.
Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine, while the US is the world’s largest consumer.
“The US remains deeply concerned about the surge in coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia since 2013, and its impact on each of our two countries,” Pompeo said.
“We know we must do our part to reduce demand in our country and we’ll work alongside you here as well.”
Duque thanked the US for its support in the drugs war.
In August 2018, newly-elected President Duque said the government would create a new drug-fighting policy, with a goal to have “concrete results” in the next four years.