BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia will next week formally join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, making it the only Latin American nation in the alliance, President Juan Manuel Santos said late on Friday.
Colombia will join as a “global partner”, Santos said, which means it will not necessarily have to take part in military action, and will be fully accredited in Brussels.
The 29-nation NATO alliance reached a partnership agreement with Colombia back in May 2017, just after peace was signed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, an agreement that earned Santos a Nobel Peace Prize.
“Colombia benefits a lot from being an active part of the international community, many of the problems we face are increasingly global and need the support and collaboration of other countries for their solution,” Santos said in a televised address.
Other global partners include Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan.
The partnership with Colombia will cooperate on global security areas like cyber and maritime security, terrorism and links to organized crime, according to NATO’s website.
The announcement came just hours after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) approved Colombia as a new member.
“Being part of the OECD and NATO improves the image of Colombia and allows us to have much more play on the international stage,” Santos said.
Reporting by Helen Murphy, editing by Louise Heavens