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White House says U.S. and Panama officials discussed infrastructure needs in meetings – Metro US

White House says U.S. and Panama officials discussed infrastructure needs in meetings

FILE PHOTO: Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo addresses the 74th session
FILE PHOTO: Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S.

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser met with Panama’s president, Laurentino Cortizo, and other officials to discuss the Central American country’s infrastructure needs and transparency, the White House said on Friday

Daleep Singh, the U.S. deputy national security adviser for international economics, also traveled to Colombia and Ecuador in a bid to promote a G7 infrastructure program aimed at countering China’s Belt and Road initiative.

Singh met with Cortizo and his Cabinet members, representatives of the Panama Canal Authority, and private sector business leaders, the statement by National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said.

The meetings focused on supporting local communities “in a way that responds to infrastructure needs and advances the highest standards for transparency and anticorruption, financial sustainability, labor protections, and environmental preservation,” Horne said.

Singh visited the countries to promote the Build Back Better World program, an initiative developed by the Group of Seven richest democracies as an alternative to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s multitrillion-dollar Belt and Road plan.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Cassandra Garrison in Mexico City; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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