April 18, 2009 / 5:28 PM / 10 years ago

Obama hopes to meet with Colombia's Uribe on trade

U. S. President Barack Obama takes his seat at the start of the first plenary session of the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, April 18, 2009. REUTERS/Jose Miguel Gomez

PORT OF SPAIN (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama hopes to meet with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas to discuss a stalled trade agreement, a U.S. official said on Saturday.

Obama and Uribe are both attending a summit of hemispheric leaders in Trinidad and Tobago.

The U.S. official said Uribe, a conservative and ally of former President George W. Bush, brought up the issue of trade during a multi-lateral meeting between Obama and leaders from South American countries on Saturday morning.

“The president would very much like to be able to talk to Uribe further during this summit on a potential pull-aside at some point,” the official said, referring to a possible one-on-one visit.

He added that trade and other issues would likely be discussed if the two leaders connected.

U.S. labor groups strongly oppose a U.S. free trade agreement with Colombia, arguing that Uribe has not done enough to stop murders of trade unionists killed during the South American nation’s four-decade civil war.

But the U.S. failure to approve the pact is seen in Latin America as a sign of Washington’s indifference to one of its staunchest allies in the region.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Paul Simao

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