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Colombians Clash with Police During Bush Visit

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Colombians Clash with Police During Bush Visit

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Colombians Clash with Police During Bush Visit

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Debbie Elliott.

We begin tonight in Bogota, Colombia, where President Bush has been meeting with his Colombian counterpart, Alvaro Uribe. Colombia is the third stop on Mr. Bush's South and Latin American tour. Colombia is the closest U.S. ally in the region in the war on drugs, but President Uribe's administration is struggling in the midst of a political scandal. A couple of thousand protestors clashed with riot police in the streets of the capital during Mr. Bush's visit.

Joining me now from Bogota is NPR White House correspondent David Greene.

David, the two leaders have been talking at a press conference. Did they have anything to say about this scandal which had Democrats here in the U.S., in the Congress, questioning a request for billions more in aid for Colombia?

DAVID GREENE: They did, Debbie. And actually, President Uribe has talked a lot about it and a lot about how he's responding to the scandal and that he's going to have an independent judiciary look into everything that has happened, including whether his political allies have been involved, and he got a big boost from President Bush. Mr. Bush said that he supports a very similar kind of inquiry, and then Mr. Bush made clear that he intends to push for all the aid that he wants to send Colombia's way, and that he's not going to let Democrats get in the way of that.

ELLIOTT: What other subjects are on the agenda for today's talks?

GREENE: Actually, the first question for Mr. Bush was about Iraq, which often happens when the president is traveling abroad. The president was asked about several more thousand troops that he is sending to Iraq and also to Afghanistan and whether Americans are to be concerned about this, and the president basically said we knew when - that he decided to send about 21,000 more troops several months ago that he was going to have to send some support, so he made it seem not that important, but Americans are going to be concerned, probably.

ELLIOTT: Thanks very much. NPR's David Greene traveling with President Bush.

GREENE: Thank you, Debbie.

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