Secretary General welcomes President of Colombia to NATO
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia to NATO for talks on Thursday (31 May 2018), marking the first-ever visit by a Colombian head of state to the Alliance. Colombia is NATO’s newest partner, and its first in Latin America.
Praising President Santos for his efforts to bring stability to Colombia, Mr. Stoltenberg said: “our cooperation has provided real benefits – both to Colombia and to NATO”. He noted that Colombia worked side-by-side with NATO forces off the Horn of Africa in 2015, “helping to suppress piracy and secure international shipping lanes”. The Secretary General also welcomed that NATO’s Building Integrity programme has increased transparency and professionalism in Colombia’s defence institutions, and that Colombian personnel have benefited from courses at the NATO School in Germany and the NATO Defense College in Italy.
Looking to future cooperation, President Santos and Secretary General Stoltenberg agreed that NATO and Colombia should work together in areas of mutual interest, including cyber defence, demining, and promoting the role of women in peace and security. “NATO is committed to working with partners like Colombia that share our values and interests,” said the Secretary General, adding: “our support comes at the request of the Colombian government, and NATO will always respect your autonomy and your independence.”
NATO’s cooperation with Colombia has been developing steadily since 2013, and Colombia officially became a partner country in May 2017. NATO works with more than 40 partner countries around the world to promote international peace and security.