Colombia’s president declared on Monday that the South American country would not “participate in NATO military operations,” after it partnered with the North American “freedom and security” global partnership last year.
Colombia is a “global partner,” meaning it would participate in areas of cyber and maritime security, terrorism and ties to organized crime, according to NATO’s website.
En Bruselas tendremos reuniones con directivos de la Unión Europea. Luego formalizaremos estatus de Colombia como socio global de la OTAN, @NATO. Esto permite realizar entrenamientos y compartir información sobre crimen organizado. pic.twitter.com/4Pr75G00EI
— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) May 28, 2018
Santos’ comments on Monday come after Venezuela denounced the partnership as a “serious threat to regional peace and stability”.
El Gobierno Bolivariano de Venezuela denuncia la intención de las autoridades colombianas de introducir en América Latina una alianza militar externa con capacidad nuclear, ante el ingreso de ese país como socio global en la Organización del Tratado del Atlántico Norte (OTAN) pic.twitter.com/gMkCofG3Uv
— Jorge Arreaza M (@jaarreaza) May 26, 2018
Colombia’s Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas reiterated to LA FM what the global partnership meant, and said its membership in the OECD and NATO was not to incite “a commercial war” with Venezuela, nor “for [military] war, its simply to belong to the best instances of good practices”.
Colombia’s constitutional court had originally invalidated the exchange of classified intelligence between the government and NATO in 2015 because of “procedural irregularities” in how voting was performed in the Senate for a law supposed to allow the exchange of intelligence.
Santos has welcomed the development, claiming that “Colombia benefits a lot from being an active part of the international community.”
“Many of the problems we face are increasingly global and need the support and collaboration of other countries for their solution,” added the outgoing head of state.
Santos will meet with NATO’s Secretary General on Thursday in Brussels to sign a formal agreement.