US and Colombia Announce Action Plan on Regional Security Cooperation and Heads of State Agree to Combat Transnational Organized Crime

On April 15, 2012, in response to growing bilateral and multilateral dialogues on citizen security, the U.S. President Barrack Obama and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced on the margins of the VI Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, that they agreed to deepen coordination of ongoing security cooperation activities throughout the hemisphere and West Africa. Both presidents agreed to formalize this coordination in the form of a U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Regional Security Cooperation. These efforts are in response to increasing insecurity generated by transnational organized crime (TOC) and draw on Colombia’s established and expanding expertise and capacity for countering this threat and shared U.S. responsibility to address the demand for illicit narcotics.

The plan formalizes the security coordination and cooperation component of the inaugural U.S.-Colombia High-Level Strategic Security Dialogue (HLSSD) which took place on February 23 in Washington, D.C. The HLSSD aims to broaden the decades-long U.S.-Colombian security partnership. This new plan paves the way for future cooperation through a strategic and formal partnership. Accordingly, coordinated Colombian and U.S. law enforcement and defense support can more effectively counter the threats of transnational organized crime and strengthen partner institutions.

As a component of the HLSSD, Colombia and the United States will conduct a series of structured coordination meetings on a frequent basis. These discussions will occur between technical experts and policy officials and will focus on four key areas for expanded collaboration that align with hemispheric citizen security goals and priorities: Narco-trafficking, Combating Crime, Strengthening Institutions, and Fostering Resilient Communities. Both countries will develop complementary security assistance programs and operational efforts to support hemispheric and international partner nations afflicted by effects of transnational organized crime. Increased coordination of U.S. and Colombia defense and security support activities, which are aligned with efforts by both countries to strengthen civilian law enforcement capacity and capabilities, will support whole-of-government strategies and produce a greater effect throughout the hemisphere and West Africa.

At the Sixth Summit of the Americas the heads of state and the government of the Americas, following the High Level Hemispheric Meeting against Transnational organized Crime held in Mexico City on March 1 and 2, 2012, reached a communique on dealing with transnational organized crime as follows: “(1) reaffirm their willingness to join forces and capabilities to confront this common challenge; (2) commit, at the highest political level, to the establishment of a hemispheric approach against transnational organized crime; (3)

for this purpose, the hemispheric community will implement a coordinating entity to harmonize the strategies and actions of the States of the Americas against transnational organized crime; (4) the aforementioned entity will determine its contacts with existing fora and universal, regional and subregional mechanisms aimed at international cooperation against organized crime in its various forms; 

(5) to this end, leaders will instruct their relevant government institutions to carry out technical consultations and other aspects, in order to develop this hemispheric cooperation approach; (6) the proposals arising from this process will be presented at an international conference to be held in Mexico, this year; and (7) such consultations will address the objectives, mandate, scope, means of funding and operational mechanisms of the hemispheric approach.

For the Communique to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, see Comminque from the Heads of State and Government of the Americas to Confront and Combat Transnational Organized Crime in the Hemisphere, VI Summit of the Americas, April 14-15, 2012, OEA/Ser.E CA-VI/CO.2/12,  http://www.summit-americas.org/SIRG/2012/041412/ComunicadoDOT-ENG.pdf

 

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