Peru and Paraguay Further Cooperation on Matters of Security and Defense
By Francisco Pereira/Diálogo August 11, 2016The Ministers of Defense of Peru, Jakke Valakivi, and Paraguay, Diógenes Martínez, visited the Peruvian Army Headquarters in Lima, on June 27th to sign an Inter-institutional Cooperation Agreement on matters of Security and Defense between the two countries' Armed Forces, with the intention of strengthening bilateral cooperation in both these areas over the next three years. The meeting was also attended by the general commanders of the Peruvian Army, Navy and Air Force, and the Paraguayan Ambassador to Peru, Júlio Duarte Van Humberk. The idea is that this agreement will enable greater interaction between the two countries on common concerns like combating drug trafficking, smuggling and gunrunning. In their speeches, both ministers stated their desire to strengthen the friendly ties that have characterized historic relations between Paraguay and Peru, convinced that mutual understanding and sharing experiences will foment greater cooperation, peace, and international stability. In an interview with Diálogo, Minister Valakivi Alvarez emphasized the importance of ensuring cooperation between these nations, with the objective of "strengthening the ties between the two countries that historically bind Peru and Paraguay." Along these same lines, Minister Martínez also reaffirmed that the bilateral relations between these South American countries will be reinforced. Subsequently, the Paraguayan minister listened to a detailed description from the Head of the Joint Command of Peru's Armed Forces, Admiral Jorge Moscoso, regarding the struggle fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, and other threats, focusing on the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro River Valley, in a zone known as the VRAEM in Peru. Minister Valakivi gave a presentation at Army Headquarters for his Paraguayan peers on the initiatives being undertaken to ensure multinational security in remote border zones, in particular in the VRAEM, and he spoke about the digital capacity the country now has by having acquired a new satellite, monitored by the new National Center of Satellite Image Operations (CNOIS). The main point of the meeting focused on technical aerospace cooperation between the two countries. The government of Paraguay has stated its interest in cooperating with Peru at a technical level, with regard to operation of the latter's satellite, in order to monitor its borders in the fight against cross-border smuggling and drug trafficking. Peru is a founding member of the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), which promotes collaboration programs among the various nations, establishing a basis for cooperation on specific applications of space technology and science. Minister Valakivi noted that the new center is very modern and follows the latest international technology standards, with highly-skilled professionals who received training abroad. He said that this infrastructure, which Peru previously lacked, will now be shared with neighboring countries through cooperation agreements. Perusat-1 is one of the most modern and powerful satellites in Latin America. This satellite is expected to be brought on line in September this year, enabling high-resolution images to be captured from space for a range of purposes, including the environment, borders, agriculture and fishing. The satellite's resolution capacity is 0.7 meters, the most powerful in the region to date, which will help in identifying a range of different objects on the Earth's surface with greater accuracy. The images taken will be both panchromatic (black and white) and multispectral (color). Minister Martínez did not deny that his government has been working hard to make this technical space cooperation between the two nations a reality in the years to come. Signing this agreement makes space cooperation between the countries a reality for combatting drug trafficking on their borders, a common concern. Minister Valakivi also highlighted in his presentation that this is a strategic project that places the country at the vanguard of Latin America, because the land station will have the function of operating the Peruvian satellite's command and control, as well as obtaining images from other complementary satellites in the region and from other continents. With the construction of the CNOIS, Minister Valakivi says that the station "will enable our country to have satellite technology independence, with the goal of planning, ordering, supporting, controlling and developing applications for different sectors and for matters like natural disaster prevention and relief efforts, territorial planning, natural resources, national and regional security and technical cooperation with neighboring countries, among other projects."