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Colombia and Peru team up against organized crime

The Americas Post - This bridge is covered, but what about the other 1,600 kilometers?

Colombia and Peru have agreed upon a plan to combat criminal organizations on their common border, the defense ministers of the two countries announced to the press after a Wednesday meeting in Bogota.

“Colombia and Peru have decided to aggressively confront organized crime which respects no borders, such as drug trafficking and illegal logging and mining,” said Peruvian Defense Minister Alberto Otalora.  He spoke at a press conference accompanied by his Colombian host and counterpart, Juan Carlos Pinzón.

“Organized criminals on our borders are hereby notified that Colombia and Peru, as of this moment, will increase joint activities not only to combat organized crime, but to achieve concrete results in the shortest time possible,”  Otálora said.

In addition, Peru agreed to lead the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) on the issue of combating transnational crime.  For Peru, “crime has no boundaries” and therefore is seeking cooperation with “brother countries”, said Otalora.

The Peruvian Minister announced “a new era of defense relations between our countries”, while stressing the traditional “good relationship” between the two nations.

Pinzon said, for his part, that “the relationship of Colombia and Peru is not only friendly and formal, but means a permanent presence of Peruvian officers working with Colombian officials, and the presence of Colombian officers working with the Armed Forces of Peru” .

The ministers agreed to take joint action against criminal groups in the border area “in the coming months”.

Security operations will be accompanied by social initiatives for the people on both sides of the 1,600 km long border,  the Colombian minister stressed.

To assess the situation, the two ministers agreed to meet again in March at the border, and hope that this meeting will also be attended by Minister of Defence of Brazil, Celso Amorim.

Industrial cooperation in defense matters was another issue discussed.

“Colombia has been experiencing major developments in its military industry, and is fully prepared to offer it to friendly countries, like our Peruvian brothers,” said Pinzon.  He mentioned that Lima has already made “small” purchases from Colombia, but gave no more details.