HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 17, 2012) - Today at the Halifax International Security Forum, The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, signed a Canada-Colombia Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation, with his Colombian counterpart, Minister of Defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno. This Memorandum of Understanding provides a strategic framework for the growing defence relationship between our countries.
"I was very pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with Minister Pinzón," noted Minister MacKay. "With Canada's increased emphasis on the Americas and given Colombia's important role in the hemisphere, there are growing opportunities for Canada and Colombia to learn from each other. We can also cooperate in areas from Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief to caring for our personnel, and engage in strategic defence policy discussions. This Memorandum represents a natural evolution in our relationship, and we look forward to continuing to build our ties with the Colombian Armed Forces," he added.
Canada and Colombia enjoy strong bilateral defence relations. Canada established a Defence Attaché position in Colombia in 2001, while an accredited Colombian Military Attaché resided in Ottawa from 2002 to 2005, and again since 2010. Colombia became a member of the Military Training and Cooperation Program in late 2011. Current areas of collaboration between Canada and Colombia include military exercises, military training, and defence policy talks.
The Memorandum of Understanding with Colombia originated at the first Canada-Colombia Defence Policy Talks, which were held in Bogota in late February 2012. These talks identified a number of opportunities for further cooperation between our two countries, including military justice, care of the wounded, disaster relief and humanitarian assistance, and knowledge sharing on counter-improvised explosive devices.
The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding demonstrates the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Forces' commitment to enhancing engagement with military partners in the hemisphere, in support of the Government of Canada's Engagement in the Americas. As part of this commitment, Canada also promotes and participates in a number of multilateral hemispheric defence fora, where we interact with many Latin American and Caribbean countries, including Colombia. Minister MacKay's latest meeting with the Colombian Minister of National Defence, Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno, took place at one of these fora, the Conference of Defence Ministers of the Americas, in October 2012, and provided the opportunity to discuss new initiatives to strengthen the bilateral relationship between Canada and Colombia.
To view photos of Minister MacKay and Minister Pinzón signing the Memorandum of Understanding, please visit the following links:
In case of technical issues with the main gallery, the imagery can be found on this FTP link: http://www.combatcamera.ca/HISF/