Panetta reaffirms partnership, friendship with Chile
By Dialogo April 27, 2012
SANTIAGO, Chile — In the first day of his visit to Chile, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta discussed with his counterpart Andrés Allamand ongoing and emerging issues, from drug trafficking to cyber security, that the countries plan to address as partners.
“The United States and Chile are neighbors, we are friends, and we have built a longstanding defense relationship founded on mutual respect, shared values and the goal of advancing peace and stability in this hemisphere and beyond,” Panetta said during a joint news conference April 26 with Allamand.
“This shared goal has been the focus of my meetings throughout Latin America,” the secretary added, “and it was the focus of my meetings [April 26] with President Sebastián Piñera and Minister Allamand.”
Chile is the third South American country Panetta has visited this week, after successful meetings with counterparts and officials in Colombia and Brazil.
Panetta said he and Allamand continued a discussion that began last month in Washington in which they considered how to enhance collaboration in areas of key interest to both nations.
The areas include enhancing the security capacity of nations in the hemisphere, countering illicit drug trafficking, meeting humanitarian needs, and working together on issues like cyber security. Panetta also hailed Chile’s role in Operation Martillo, a multinational counter-narcotics effort.
“Chile is making an important contribution to this effort,” Panetta said, “and earlier today the United States announced that, as part of Operation Martillo, our forces conducted a major drug bust off the coast of Panama, seizing [US]$362 million worth of cocaine.”
“These are the kinds of results that strong partnerships can deliver,” he added.
[Defense.gov, 26/04/2012; Latercera.com (Chile), 26/04/2012]