MIAMI (Apr. 26, 2019) -- U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), visited Colombia and Ecuador Apr. 22 – 25 and met with top leaders in both countries to discuss regional security and strengthen cooperation.
The trip to Colombia was Faller’s second since taking command of SOUTHCOM in November 2018. The stop in Ecuador marked the first by a SOUTHCOM commander since 2011. Faller’s contingent included SOUTHCOM’s Civilian Deputy to the Commander, Amb. Liliana Ayalde, and Command Senior Enlisted Leader, Marine Sgt. Maj. Bryan K. Zickefoose.
Faller visited Colombia, along with U.S. Army South Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Mark Stammer, to participate in the Multilateral Borders Conference 2019 with defense leaders and officials from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. During the conference, the leaders analyzed the current security environment and ways to strengthen regional security coordination and cooperation against transnational threats.
The participating delegations ratified lines of effort aimed at ensuring that forces of each country are trained to deal with issues such as irregular migration, money laundering, drug trafficking, the illegal exploitation of mining deposits, traffic and commercialization of arms, ammunition and explosives and illegal trade in wildlife.
On his first day in Colombia, Faller met with Colombian President Ivan Duque to discuss the continuation of both nations' strong security partnership.
"It was a very constructive and productive dialogue where the shared commitment of the two countries against drug trafficking was reiterated," the President's Office said in a statement.
In Ecuador, Faller met Ecuadorean Minister of Defence, General Oswaldo Jarrín. Discussions focused on regional security with both leaders reiterating interest in expanding bilateral security cooperation.
After their meeting, Jarrín and Faller, along with U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Todd Chapman, held a press conference to shed light on the discussions.
"The doors of Ecuador are open to all countries on the subject of security," Jarrín said. Jarrín stated he also proposed a regional defense policy, between Colombia, Peru and this nation.
Faller pointed out that the cooperation between the United States and Ecuador will serve to strengthen the fight against transnational criminal organizations.
“By working together, we can ensure our citizens are protected by transnational criminal organizations, not threatened by them,” said Faller.
“Our commitment to this strong partnership reflects our enduring promise of friendship and solidarity. The Americas are our shared home,” said Faller. “As friends, partners and neighbors, we look forward to working alongside Ecuador’s armed forces to support security in our countries, the region and the hemisphere.”
In the past two years, military cooperation between the United States and Ecuador has strengthened, with several high-level visits, the visit of the hospital ship USNS Comfort and the reopening of the US military cooperation office in Ecuador.