Argentina and Chile Reaffirm Joint Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement
By Francisco Pereira/Diálogo December 01, 2016Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz Valenzuela, Argentine Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra, Chilean Defense Minister José Antonio Gómez Urrutia, and Argentine Defense Minister Julio César Martinez attended the Mechanism 2+2 meeting, a traditional gathering between the two countries, in the Green Room of the San Martín Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina on November 4th. Participants focused on several topics of mutual interest, such as their participation in the South American Defense Council (CDS, per its Spanish acronym), an organ of the Union of South American Nations, and on the Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas (CMDA, per its Spanish acronym). South American Defense Council “Strengthening the South American Defense Council allows for transparency and for working on various issues of relevance to the region,” said Minister Gómez in reference to Chile’s interest in the CDS. “Therefore, I think we need to play a more prominent role in this matter.” The CDS was created in 2008 and comprises South America’s 12 countries. The goal is to make South America a peaceful region, create conditions for political stability and socio-economic development, and build a South American defense identity. It also aims to foster consensus to contribute to strengthening cooperation around the continent. Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas During the discussion regarding the results of the October CMDA meeting in Trinidad and Tobago, Minister Gómez explained that the subject of operations tied to natural disasters was one of the topics discussed, including the intense seismic activity that stroke Chile at the time, injuring people and damaging property throughout the country. On that occasion, a working group was established with representatives from both South American countries – Chile being the main driver of this initiative – because “we have experience with different natural disasters, and, therefore, we can work together on this and make a valuable contribution,” said Minister Gómez. Security and defense cooperation and other topics Marcos Robledo, Chile's undersecretary of Defense, spoke of his country's participation in the United Nation's Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic and highlighted the relationship Chile has with Argentina. “The relationship that we have been reaffirming with Argentina by way of defense is quite interesting; this is a permanent and ongoing effort on matters that are of benefit to the citizenry.” Regarding the area of bilateral security and defense cooperation, the representatives showed a willingness to continue and even expand a series of projects that both countries are developing jointly among their navies, armies, and air forces. Participants also discussed cooperation in other mutual areas, such as science, military equipment technology and development, the Antarctic, gender and military issues, as well as risk management, among others. A topic of much discussion was the inclusion of UN Resolution 1325, which requires women’s rights to be respected in order to support their involvement in post-conflict peace negotiations. Both countries pledged to present a plan to incorporate the resolution at the ministers’ meeting to be held in Buenos Aires on December 15th-16th. The initial plan calls for the use of the Combined Peace Force “Southern Cross” as the baseline for the incorporation of the resolution. Colombia’s peace process was also discussed, with both chancellors pledging to remain involved as observers in the United Nations Special Political Mission in the Republic of Colombia. “The forum is of great relevance because we have an extensive agenda with Chile on very important projects and operations in the area of defense, since we share such a long border,” said Argentine Minister Martinez. “All the work that we are doing in the mutual area of natural disasters and peacekeeping operations around the world is essential,” he added. Cooperation between Argentina and Chile dates back a long time, and it is undoubtedly an example of diplomatic success between two partner nations that have resolved past conflicts and territorial disputes along their extensive borders. Since the 2009 signing of the Maipú Treaty, these meetings have become a tradition between these two neighbors. The treaty aims to deepen the level of bilateral cooperation in different areas, and these binational meetings of ministers are essential for achieving those goals. Seven meetings have been held in this format. In 2015, during the 7th Bi-national Meeting of Ministers in Santiago, defense authorities from both nations signed a joint declaration on their 2015 Bilateral Action Plan, which includes 12 commitments that will allow them to focus their efforts in the defense sector.