Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes and his Colombian counterpart, Juan Carlos Pinzon, agreed on Wednesday to increase cooperation in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime by exchanging intelligence information.

“There is the presence of terrorist organizations (in both countries) and the presence of criminal or drug trafficking structures that are trying to take advantage of Spanish and Colombian territory,” said Pinzon during a joint press conference with his guest.

The exchange of intelligence will be undertaken via a bilateral commission that the ministers agreed to establish next year.

Morenes emphasized that Colombia is a country “with a fundamental importance in the international security and stability strategy, in which this country is going to have the ongoing support of Spain.”

Another task to be handled by the bilateral commission, which will meet twice a year, will be increasing bilateral cooperation in military training.

Colombia will train a group of Spanish officers in special operations, an area in which Bogota has broad experience as a result of the Andean nation’s decades-long internal conflict.

Spain, meanwhile, will send a professor “who has profound knowledge of … (NATO)” to the Colombian War College, Pinzon said.

The two ministers also agreed “to seek associations” between Colombian and Spanish companies in the defense sector to continue “the process of … (modernizing) the defense industry in Colombia,” Pinzon said.

Colombia is the last stop on a tour that has also taken Morenes to Canada and Mexico.

Source: Latin American Herald Tribune

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