By DoD News
While en route to Trinidad and Tobago to participate in the Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas, Defense Secretary Ash Carter spoke by phone Monday with Colombian Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas to discuss the U.S.-Colombia defense relationship, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.
In a statement summarizing the call, Cook said the secretary expressed his regrets for being unable to visit Colombia during this trip as originally planned because of Hurricane Matthew, and he reaffirmed the strong U.S. support for the peace process in Colombia.
The two defense leaders discussed the status of the peace talks and a range of shared security issues,” the press secretary said. As a sign of the continued U.S. commitment to Colombia, he added, Carter informed the Villegas that the Defense Department will provide $10 million in humanitarian demining support.
“Minister Villegas thanked the secretary for the U.S. commitment to Colombia and expressed a desire to continue expanding the bilateral defense relationship,” Cook said.
Carter acknowledged that the peace process would prevent Villegas from attending the defense ministers conference in person, and said he is looking forward to engaging with Colombian Vice Minister of Defense Anibal Fernandez de Soto there, Cook said. The secretary invited Villegas to meet with him at the Pentagon in the near future, the press secretary added.