Defense Ministers in the Americas strengthen cooperation on security issues

Defense Ministers in the Americas strengthen cooperation on security issues

By Dialogo
October 16, 2014





The 34 countries of the Americas strengthened their collective commitment to promote peace and fight international drug trafficking and other transnational criminal enterprises during the Eleventh Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, which was held October 12-14 in Arequipa, Perú.

Those commitments were proclaimed publicly in the Arequipa Declaration, which encourages cooperative peace missions and humanitarian aid throughout the region in support of the efforts of the United Nations.

“Today, defense and security are essential to exercising liberty and to upholding democracy,” said Perú’s Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano during the conference’s closing ceremony. “[The conference] allows us to share our experiences and accept the challenge to work together against threats for which we have not been prepared.”

The main subjects discussed during the conference included best environmental practices, humanitarian deactivation of land mines, and the need for exchanges of information in health matters. The Ebola crisis in Africa was mentioned as an example of the need for continent-wide cooperation to ensure the health of the civilian population.

“It is completely relevant and prudent to encourage this sort of cooperative security in the Western Hemisphere, because there are shared problems that threaten our countries, and the best way to fight them is through coordinated strategies,” said international security and defense analyst Jaime Castro Contreras.

“The multi-dimensional nature of security and defense is broader now, and we have gained much in the process of incorporating topics such as humanitarian aid, peace missions, aid during natural disasters, and other topics related to peace policies in this hemisphere.”

Emphasis on protecting the health of civilians


Consequently, the defense ministers and other attendees agreed that helping the civilian population during natural disasters by providing field hospitals and medication will be one of the key topics of the next conference, which is scheduled to take place in Trinidad and Tobago in 2016.

By coincidence, that agreement came after participants received news of the 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck El Salvador on October 13. The ministers and other authorities at the CDMA expressed their solidarity and offered their full support and cooperation to the Central American nation.

To promote cooperation on security issues, Perú’s Minister of Defense Pedro Cateriano held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Surinam, Lamuré Carlo Latour; from Trinidad and Tobago, Clifton Philip De Coteau; from Canada, Robert Nicholson; with Guatemala’s Vice Minister of Defense, Neftalí Santos Cardona; and with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

The Kingdom of Spain awarded Cateriano the “Grand Cross of Military Merit with White Decoration,” which was presented to the Peruvian defense minister by his Iberian counterpart, Pedro Morenés Eulate. Spain participated as an observer at the conference. The award was granted for the merits and services rendered by Cateriano to further the harmony between Spain and Perú.

While most of the conference was devoted to discussions about improving security in the region through cooperation, officials did take time to observe a moment of silence for Peruvian Army NCO Juan Chávez Infante, who died during a terrorist ambush in Valle de los Ríos Apurímac, Ene y Mantaro (VRAEM) on October 13.






The 34 countries of the Americas strengthened their collective commitment to promote peace and fight international drug trafficking and other transnational criminal enterprises during the Eleventh Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas, which was held October 12-14 in Arequipa, Perú.

Those commitments were proclaimed publicly in the Arequipa Declaration, which encourages cooperative peace missions and humanitarian aid throughout the region in support of the efforts of the United Nations.

“Today, defense and security are essential to exercising liberty and to upholding democracy,” said Perú’s Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano during the conference’s closing ceremony. “[The conference] allows us to share our experiences and accept the challenge to work together against threats for which we have not been prepared.”

The main subjects discussed during the conference included best environmental practices, humanitarian deactivation of land mines, and the need for exchanges of information in health matters. The Ebola crisis in Africa was mentioned as an example of the need for continent-wide cooperation to ensure the health of the civilian population.

“It is completely relevant and prudent to encourage this sort of cooperative security in the Western Hemisphere, because there are shared problems that threaten our countries, and the best way to fight them is through coordinated strategies,” said international security and defense analyst Jaime Castro Contreras.

“The multi-dimensional nature of security and defense is broader now, and we have gained much in the process of incorporating topics such as humanitarian aid, peace missions, aid during natural disasters, and other topics related to peace policies in this hemisphere.”

Emphasis on protecting the health of civilians


Consequently, the defense ministers and other attendees agreed that helping the civilian population during natural disasters by providing field hospitals and medication will be one of the key topics of the next conference, which is scheduled to take place in Trinidad and Tobago in 2016.

By coincidence, that agreement came after participants received news of the 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck El Salvador on October 13. The ministers and other authorities at the CDMA expressed their solidarity and offered their full support and cooperation to the Central American nation.

To promote cooperation on security issues, Perú’s Minister of Defense Pedro Cateriano held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Surinam, Lamuré Carlo Latour; from Trinidad and Tobago, Clifton Philip De Coteau; from Canada, Robert Nicholson; with Guatemala’s Vice Minister of Defense, Neftalí Santos Cardona; and with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

The Kingdom of Spain awarded Cateriano the “Grand Cross of Military Merit with White Decoration,” which was presented to the Peruvian defense minister by his Iberian counterpart, Pedro Morenés Eulate. Spain participated as an observer at the conference. The award was granted for the merits and services rendered by Cateriano to further the harmony between Spain and Perú.

While most of the conference was devoted to discussions about improving security in the region through cooperation, officials did take time to observe a moment of silence for Peruvian Army NCO Juan Chávez Infante, who died during a terrorist ambush in Valle de los Ríos Apurímac, Ene y Mantaro (VRAEM) on October 13.


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