Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Friday that his country will formally become NATO’s first Latin American “global partner,” beginning next week.
In a televised address from the presidential Narino Palace and on Twitter, Santos said: “We will formalize in Brussels next week — and this is very important — the entry of Colombia into NATO in the category of global partner. We will be the only country in Latin America with this privilege.”
Santos, the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who made peace with FARC rebels, said the move would improve Colombia’s image on the world stage.
Colombia and NATO reached a partnership deal in May 2017 following the conclusion of the peace accord with FARC, now a political party.
Areas of cooperation include cybersecurity, maritime security, terrorism and its links to organized crime, and building the capacities and capabilities of the Colombian armed forces, according to a statement posted on NATO’s website.
In addition to Colombia, NATO lists Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan as “partners across the globe” or simply “global partners.”
Each country “has developed an Individual Partnership Cooperation Program” with the 29-country U.S.-led alliance. Many of them are actively contributing to NATO missions.