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U.S. Army South hosts Colombian army during bilateral staff talks

By Sgt. Ashley Dotson | U.S. Army South Public Affairs | Sept. 10, 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

U.S. Army South, as the U.S. Army's executive agent, hosted bilateral staff talks with Colombian army leaders Sept. 5-6 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, to develop professional partnerships and increase interaction between armies.

These talks will strengthen and plan future strategic, operational, and security agreements.

"On behalf of the new Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Gen. James McConville, I am honored and proud to be given this opportunity to welcome this fine delegation and to once again work with the Colombian army -- one of our strongest partners in the region," said Maj. Gen. Daniel Walrath, U.S. Army South commander, as he welcomed the Colombian delegation.

The partner army leaders work together throughout the staff talks to discuss and develop issues and objectives that result in agreed-to-actions in order to strengthen partner nation relationships, develop collaborative solutions to regional problems, and outline the engagement plan for the upcoming year between the U.S. Army and the Colombian Army.

"The outcome of this meeting will strengthen the capabilities of our Armies," said Maj. Gen. Oscar Alberto Quintero Gonzales, Inspector General of the Colombian Army. "It is crucial to guarantee the union efforts that allow transnational crimes to be tackled. For this, it is vitally important to have trained troops, able to respond vehemently to the challenges of the present and future."

These most recent army-to-army staff talks were unique due to being the first executive meeting that the Colombian army invited Sgt. Maj. of the Colombian Army Carlos Arturo Gomez Rincon to attend and provide enlisted input.

"The staff talks represent the profound friendship and partnership that the U.S. and Colombian Armies uniquely have," Walrath said. "Notably since Plan Colombia that began 20 years ago, we have made important and sustained contributions to regional security in Latin America."

For 2020, the armies proposed 24 agreed-to actions. These actions include several training events, non-commissioned officer professional development, as well as offering the position of the 3rd U.S. Army South Deputy Commanding General for Interoperability to Colombia.

"The U.S.-Colombia partnership has proven time and time again to be among the strongest in the region and an example of what is possible for security cooperation and international relationships in Latin America and globally," Walrath said. "I am very excited for the possibilities between our two armies, and look forward to working closely with the Colombian Army for the next few years of my command."

"The Colombian army is grateful for the permanent support and advice given by U.S. Army South," said Quintero as he bid farewell. "I want to reiterate our feeling of gratitude and appreciation with all of the men and women that belong to the U.S. Army."

The next bilateral staff talks executive meeting between the U.S. and Colombia will be held in Bogata, Colombia, in late 2020.