Colombia’s government has signed an agreement with the European Union (EU) to lend support over “crisis management” because of the South American country’s experience with counterinsurgency, Colombian media reported on Tuesday.
The agreement was signed in Bogota on Tuesday by the EU ambassador to Colombia, Maria Antonia van Gool, and Colombia’s newly reappointed Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon, according to Colombia’s Caracol Radio.
Van Gool said the signing of the agreement was important “because it’s a sign of mutual cooperation for peace between Colombia and the European Union,” and it provides a legal basis for regulating Colombia’s participation in the operations of civilian crisis management with military forces from the EU.
Defense Minister Pinzon said the agreement was a recognition of Colombia’s Armed Forces’ purpose for offering “any kind of help” to other countries in other continents.
Van Gool added that Colombia has been recognized as having expertise in counterinsurgency in the so-called “war on drugs” and terrorism that is beneficial to the EU.
Colombia has also lent its peacekeeping support to other nations such as Haiti and Sierra Leone, and is the second Latin American country next to Chile to sign an agreement of military involvement with the EU, according to Caracol.
The EU ambassador emphasized the good relations between Colombia and the European Union and reiterated the EU’s support for peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC.
Since 2003, the EU has employed about 30 international crisis management missions under mandates from the United Nations. These missions have taken place in countries such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Georgia, Mali, Libya, the Congo, Somalia, and other nations in West Africa, according to Colombia’s Vanguardia newspaper.