Colombia will not be allowed to join NATO as it does not meet the geographical criteria, but will be invited to carry out “specific collaborative activities”, the international organization announced on Monday.
NATO and the government of Juan Manuel Santos are working towards an agreement which “will allow the exchange of classified information between the [NATO] Alliance and Colombia” and which will serve as “precursor to any possible future cooperation with Colombia which member states will develop through the organization,” NATO sources in Brussels told Spanish news agency EFE on Monday.
President Santos had announced on Saturday that the agreement will be worked on during the month of June, claiming the Ministry of Defense will “initiate a process of acquaintance, of cooperation, also with a view to entering into the organization.” According to Santos, Colombia “has the right” to join and “can now think big,” suggesting that the Colombian army could take the step to “stand out at an international level.”
It was a suggestion that proved controversial, with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega describing the move as “a knife to the heart of the citizens of our [Latin] America.”
However, NATO’s statement made it clear that although it is “conscious of the interest of Colombia in developing cooperation” with NATO, “it does not meet the geographic criteria” for member states.