US vows to help Colombia reduce acreage for cocaine production by 2023
Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT) January 3, 2019
A member of the Colombian antinarcotics police, stands guard beside a one-ton shipment of cocaine seized to the country's biggest drug gang on August 10, 2017. (Credit :RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)
(CNN)As the primary cocaine trafficking flow continues to happen between the US and Colombia, US Secretary Mike Pompeo and Colombian President Ivan Duque have pledged to work together to combat the surge in production.
The amount of land used for cocaine production in Colombia has reached a record high, according to a recent report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC).
US Secretary Mike Pompeo expressed concern about the surge in production in a meeting with Colombian President Ivan Duque Wednesday.
"The United States remains deeply concerned about the surge in coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia since 2013 and its impact on both our countries," Pompeo said in a joint press conference with President Duque in Colombia.
Pompeo traveled to Colombia to meet with its President to discuss the United States' support for common goals "such as counternarcotics efforts, peace accord implementation, trade," and response to the Venezuela crisis, according to the US Department of State.
The meeting followed a visit to Brazil, where Pompeo attended the inauguration of Brazil's President-elect, Jair Bolsonaro.
What the report revealed
The UNODC's 2018 World Drug Report report, which was released in September, said the amount of land under coca cultivation in Colombia increased by 17 percent between 2016 and 2017.
According to the report, Colombia leads the world in cocaine manufacturing, while North America contains the majority of cocaine users.
Pompeo also vowed the US will work with Colombia to decreased coca production by 50 percent by 2023.
President Duque said the United States' support in their fight against drug trafficking "is of paramount importance."