NATO and Colombia conduct high-level staff talks, reaffirm commitment to partnership

NATO and Colombia reaffirmed their commitment to mutually beneficial partnership during High Level Staff Talks in Colombia, which ended on Saturday (2 October 2021). The two sides committed to deepening political dialogue and intensifying practical cooperation on good governance, military training, interoperability, demining, and maritime security. Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, Bettina Cadenbach, led the NATO delegation.

Together with Colombia’s Vice Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs, Carlos Morales, and the Vice Defence Minister for International Policies, Sandra Alzate, they discussed opportunities for enhanced security dialogue, and exchanged views on the strategic environment. While in Bogota, Ambassador Cadenbach also participated in an academic panel titled “NATO 2030: making the Alliance ready to face this decade’s challenges”, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia. In her remarks, she stressed the importance of enhancing relations with like-minded partners across the world, which is an essential part of NATO’s 2030 agenda.

Towards the end of her two-day trip, Ambassador Cadenbach also paid a visit to the National Training Center at Tolemaida Military Base. Colombia provides demining training to NATO Allies and partners through the participation of Colombia’s International Demining Centre (CIDES) in the network of NATO Partnership Training and Education Centres (PTEC). NATO also supports Colombia in its efforts to build the capacities and capabilities of the Colombian armed forces.

Ambassador Cadenbach’s trip follows a recent meeting between NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and President Ivan Duque in the margins of the UN General Assembly, as well as a September meeting between Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana and Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez de Rincon. Colombia has been a NATO partner country since 2017 – the Alliance’s first in Latin America. In recent years, NATO and Colombia have strengthened dialogue and cooperation in a number of areas, including cyber security, terrorism, the fight against corruption and maritime security.

Colombia and NATO will agree a new partnership programme in the autumn of 2021.  Potential areas of interest for enhanced cooperation include interoperability, building integrity, training and education, as well as new areas like climate change and security.

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