Gates Praises Colombia As Exporter Of Security

Gates Praises Colombia As Exporter Of Security

By Dialogo
April 19, 2010

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates offered high praise to Colombia as an “exporter of security” that, by sharing lessons learned in its crackdown against a leftist insurgency and drug-trafficking cartels, provides a model for the region. Gates offered congratulations to President Alvaro Uribe and Defense Minister Gabriel Silva Luján during his meetings with them today, calling their leadership in Colombia’s offensive against the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, known as FARC, and other paramilitary groups “heroic.” “In just a few years, Colombia has achieved a remarkable, indeed historic, transformation in the security arena that few would have thought possible,” Gates said during a joint news conference with Silva, during which Uribe offered opening remarks. Gates praised progress in taking Colombia “from a nation under siege from drug trafficking organizations and military groups to a country quickly becoming a lynchpin of security and prosperity in South America.” He also recognized the skill and bravery Colombia’s military and security forces have demonstrated in this effort. “Colombia’s men and women in uniform have made great sacrifices to dramatically degrade the FARC and other terrorist groups, making Colombia a unique source of experience and expertise in combating these threats,” he said. Gates commended Colombia for sharing its knowledge and skills in counterinsurgency, law enforcement and anti-kidnapping training. “We believe these efforts are enhancing stability in the Americas,” he said. Meanwhile, Colombia has helped its neighbors cope with natural disasters, he said, including sending personnel and supplies to both Haiti and Chile after their devastating earthquakes. These humanitarian missions are indicative of Colombia’s leadership in promoting regional cooperation to confront regional threats and challenges, he said. Asked why the United States’ new defense cooperation agreement with Brazil has drawn much less outcry than the U.S.-Colombia accord did when it was signed in October, Silva said the United States and Colombia established a ground-breaking model that others in the region now hope to emulate. The U.S.-Colombian Defense Cooperation Agreement formalized the military-to-military relationship between the two countries to better address narcotics production and trafficking, terrorism, illicit smuggling and humanitarian and natural disasters. Caption:
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