by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez
President Duque, dear Iván,
Very warm welcome to NATO.
It is great to see you again.
Colombia is a unique and very highly valued partner for the NATO Alliance.
Our first partner in Latin America.
And a partner in building international peace and stability.
And let me thank you for your personal commitment, for your leadership and developing the partnership between NATO and Colombia.
This is something we really appreciate.
And it is therefore a great pleasure to see you again here at the NATO headquarters.
We share common values, and we share security challenges.
So over the years, our relationship has grown broader and deeper.
Colombia has contributed to NATO counter-piracy patrols off the Horn of Africa.
Colombian experts provide demining training to NATO Allies and partner countries.
And we value your expertise in areas like counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency.
So our cooperation is good for NATO.
And it is good for Colombia.
NATO is supporting the development of the Colombian armed forces and institutions.
Making them an example for the rest of Latin America.
We also continue to strengthen our dialogue and cooperation on maritime security,
And on fighting corruption, disinformation, and cyber threats.
Just two months ago, Colombia and NATO agreed to launch a new partnership programme, to do even more together.
Including in areas like fighting terrorism, training and education, and addressing the security impact of climate change.
An issue I know is close to your heart.
As we face a more complex and unpredictable security environment, NATO’s partnerships make us all stronger and safer.
They are an essential part of our work to address global security challenges.
And uphold the rules-based international order.
Today, that order is under pressure.
We discussed Russia’s massive and unjustified military build-up in and around Ukraine.
NATO remains ready to engage in meaningful dialogue with Russia.
And the best way for Russia to demonstrate its readiness to find a peaceful solution is to de-escalate and remove their forces which are now threatening Ukraine.
And choose the path of diplomacy.
We agreed that every sovereign nation has the fundamental right to choose its own path.
And we call on all to respect this right.
We also exchanged views on the deepening cooperation between Russia and China.
Including their support for the repressive regime in Venezuela.
We agreed that all parties should play a constructive role for regional peace and stability.
Once again, thank you for coming here.
Thank you for your strong support to the partnership between Colombia and NATO.
And I really appreciate working so closely with you.
And I appreciate our friendship.
Thank you so much and welcome.