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Trump welcomes president of Panama

President Trump welcomed the president of Panama to the White House on Monday, pointing to the United States' role in the construction of the Panama Canal at the start of his first face-to-face meeting with the Central American leader.

Trump met with Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela for a discussion on organized crime, immigration, drug trafficking and economic issues. After Trump and First Lady Melania Trump escorted Varela and his wife, Lorena Castillo, to the Oval Office, the president quickly noted their historical ties.

"The Panama Canal is doing quite well. I think we did a good job building it, right?" Trump told Varela, who responded, "very good job."

Trump added: "Things are going well in Panama. The relationship is very strong."

Trump said in a statement after the meeting that he "underscored the need for continued cooperation to address drug trafficking and illegal migration in the region."

Varela's office said afterward the two leaders discussed security, economic issues and countering the proliferation of drug trafficking. Varela invited Trump to visit him in Panama, Varela's office said.

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