Colombia and Brazil sign bilateral pacts

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and his Brazilian counterpart Lula da Silva on Wednesday signed eight cooperation agreements during the Santos’ visit to the neighboring country.

The agreements are related to trade, development at the countries’ common border, and security. The security agreement seeks to establish greater cooperation between Colombian and Brazilian armed forces in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.

After signing the agreements the two presidents held a meeting behind closed doors, in which they are believed to have discussed the region’s political situation and other bilateral concerns including trade relations.

At a lunch held in honor of the Colombian delegation’s visit to Brazil, Santos stressed that Colombia and Brazil have similar goals and values in common and said he hoped that they would increase bilateral relations in the coming years.

Lula also spoke at the lunch, stressing Brazil’s “solidarity with the Colombian people in their fight for peace and against violence.”

“Nothing justifies terrorism as an instrument of political struggle,” he said.

Santos said he hoped increased bilateral police cooperation would result in better security. He also said he hoped the two countries would increasingly work together through regional and subregional organizations.

Santos said Latin America has “great goals'” that it must achieve in order to “reduce poverty and the lack of equality between populations. “The moment has arrived to wake up” and “finally gain economic and social prosperity.”

“This is the decade of Latin America,” he declared.

Santos met earlier Wednesday with front-runner Brazilian presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff, who promised to combat guerrillas and drug trafficking on the shared border if elected in October.

On Thursday Santos will travel to Sao Paulo to meet with Brazilian businessmen and promote Brazilian investment in Colombia.

Colombia and Brazil have an amiable relationship, with Lula offering to mediate the diplomatic crisis that unfolded between Colombia and Venezuela in July.

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