Bachelet underlines that US-Chilean ties have "matured"

Bachelet underlines that US-Chilean ties have "matured" Washington - Chilean President Michelle Bachelet stressed Tuesday that bilateral ties between her country and the United States have "matured," as she tackled the first day of her visit to Washington.

Bachelet was set to meet later Tuesday with US President Barack Obama, with whom she said she has an "excellent" relationship, in the White House. The meeting will be "a most important one," Bachelet anticipated at a breakfast meeting organized by the US Chamber of Commerce in her honour.

She stressed "the political like-mindedness between both governments," but noted also that - beyond that - "the bilateral relationship has matured."

"We are highly gratified to see that President Obama shows the political will to initiate constructive dialogue with the international community, a new beginning regarding major global challenges," Bachelet said.

Bachelet and Obama met in April at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, where Obama explicitly asked to sit by her side.

In the White House, the two leaders were set to discuss climate change and renewable energies, as well as the effort to promote economic development and security in the Americas.

Jose Miguel Insulza, secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) who is from Chile, said Saturday in Santiago that Bachelet and Obama would also "touch on" the issue of Cuba and its potential return to the OAS.

Since the US-Chile free trade agreement went into force in 2004, bilateral trade has doubled to over 19 billion dollars in 2008, Bachelet noted.

The United States is already the top foreign investor in Chile, while Chilean exports to the North American nation have increased by 121 per cent since 2003.

Bachelet arrived in Washington earlier Tuesday, for a two-day visit with an intense political and economic agenda.(dpa)

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