France and Colombia will sign a military cooperation technical agreement which will, amongst other things, allow Colombian armed forces to learn from the experience of their French counterparts in “international missions and peace-keeping operations,” the Colombian government announced last week. But the signature will take place during Defence Minister Luis Carlos Villegas’ visit to France this quarter rather than during French President François Hollande’s current official visit to the Latin American nation.
“This agreement will cover areas such as science and technology, mine clearing, natural disasters and the environment and its fundamental proposal will be establishing closer ties between the armed forces and the national police and their French counterparts,” the Colombian defence ministry said.
“France has always been Colombia’s ally. In matters of defence there have been many occasions when France strongly backed our armed forces,” said Aníbal Fernández de Soto, deputy defence minister in charge of international relations.
Fernández de Soto had a meeting on 17 January with General Jean-Marie Clament, the French defence ministry’s director of international relations and strategy, in order of work out the details of this agreement.
“We talked about Franco-Colombian cooperation, which is not new, its an affair that’s been on-going for many years particularly with the armed forces we have in the Caribbean, but also with part of our forces in France,” said Clament in fluent Spanish, adding that the two countries were “together” fighting drug-traffickers and “other trans-national threats.”