SURINAME (Nov. 6, 2014) -- U.S. Marine Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, speaks with Suriname Minister of Defense Lamure Latour while visiting Concordia Army Base, south of Paramaribo, Nov 6. Kelly visited Guyana and Suriname Nov. 4-6 to hear the viewpoints, concerns, interests and ideas of defense and government leaders from both South American countries, discuss their bilateral partnerships with the United States, and explore opportunities for continued security cooperation. (Photo by Jose Ruiz)
MIAMI -- U.S. Marine Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), concluded a three-day visit to Guyana and Suriname Nov.6.
The visit was the general’s first to both countries, where he spoke with senior defense and government leaders about regional security challenges and mutual cooperation goals, met with U.S. ambassadors and visited military personnel assigned to U.S. embassies in Georgetown and Paramaribo.
While in each country, several security units and installations hosted the SOUTHCOM commander, highlighting their nations’ ongoing cooperation and friendship with the armed forces of the United States, particularly in the areas of disaster preparedness and counter transnational organized crime.
“SOUTHCOM is committed to working with partners who share our commitment to peace, security, and stability in the Americas,” Kelly said while in Suriname, where he stressed the visits were an opportunity “to hear the viewpoints, concerns, interests and ideas of our partners,” and “explore opportunities for continued security cooperation.”
SOUTHCOM’s defense cooperation with Guyana and Suriname includes participation in multinational exercises, such as Tradewinds and Fuerzas Comando, state partnerships with the national guard of Florida and South Dakota, as well as subject matter expert exchanges, training events, seminars and conferences on topics of mutual interest, including maritime security, professional development, and humanitarian assistance.
Kelly’s visit to both countries was the first by a SOUTHCOM commander since 2009.