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Sec Def to Meet with Counterparts in South America

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 1998 – Defense Secretary William S. Cohen will depart here Nov. 29 to attend the third Defense Ministerial of the Americas being held in Cartagena, Colombia.

This is the third meeting of defense ministers and other senior officials from the 33 democratic nations of the western hemisphere. Former Defense Secretary William J. Perry hosted the first ministerial in 1995 in Williamsburg, Va. A second ministerial was held in 1996 in Bariloche, Argentina.

The conference fosters dialogue among regional defense and security leaders, a senior Pentagon official said. “It is an important confidence—building mechanism that contributes to peace and prosperity in the hemisphere,” he said.

“The ministerial provides a valuable opportunity for the Department of Defense to expand relationships with the smaller nations while reinforcing our commitments to the larger ones,” the official said.

Cohen is scheduled to return to Washington Dec. 2.

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