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Immediate Release

Readout of Secretary Carter's Call With Colombia Minister of Defense Villegas

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke by phone today with Colombia’s Minister of Defense Luis Carlos Villegas to discuss the U.S.-Colombia defense relationship. They spoke during the Secretary's flight to Trinidad and Tobago for the Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas. Secretary Carter expressed his regrets for being unable to visit Colombia during this trip as originally planned because of Hurricane Matthew, and he reaffirmed the United States strong support for the peace process in Colombia. The two discussed the status of the peace talks and a range of shared security issues. As a sign of the continued U.S. commitment to Colombia, the secretary informed the minister that the DoD 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. The secretary acknowledged that the peace process would prevent Minister Villegas from attending CDMA in person, and is looking forward to engaging with the Colombian Vice Minister of Defense Anibal Fernandez de Soto at the conference. Secretary Carter also invited Minister Villegas to meet with him at the Pentagon in the near future.