U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
October 16, 2019
In his first trip as Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Ambassador Michael Kozak will travel to Panama from October 17 through 21 to reinforce the strong U.S.-Panamanian bilateral relationship and promote collaboration on infrastructure and the expansion of pro-market investment.
On October 18, he will meet with Panamanian President Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo and later with Foreign Minister Alejandro Ferrer and Security Minister Rolando Mirones. They will discuss the democratic crises in Venezuela and Nicaragua, the importance of Panama’s continued cooperation on counter-narcotics and counterterrorism efforts, and border security. Additionally, Acting Assistant Secretary Kozak will express U.S. support for Panama’s efforts at enhancing the business climate to attract more transparent and sustainable foreign investment. Acting Assistant Secretary Kozak will also deliver remarks at the inauguration of the AES liquid natural gas terminal in the city of Colón, the largest U.S. investment to date in Panama.
On October 19, Acting Assistant Secretary Kozak will visit the Panama Canal and meet with Panama Canal Authority Deputy Administrator Manuel Benitez and with Canal Minister Aristides Royo. The Acting Assistant Secretary will emphasize progress made in the Canal’s administration and infrastructure. He will discuss the United States’ interest in promoting additional Canal projects.