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Brazil and Colombia agree on border security measures

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Brazil's Defense Minister Raul Jungmann and his Colombian counterpart Luiz Carlos Villegas announced joint measures on the combat against cross-border crimes. The plan includes efforts targeting illegal immigration and mining and integrated intelligence.

“This intelligence is to take place all the way from Brazil's and Colombia's border stations up to the highest level in Brasília, in ministerial terms. We should therefore have an unobstructed, continuous, integrated daily traffic of information between Brazil and Colombia on our common concerns,” Jungmann said after a ministerial meeting held Tuesday (Jan. 31) in Manaus, capital city of Amazonas—one of Brazil's states that share national borders with Colombia. Also at the meeting were Armed Forces commandants from both countries.

Another commitment made by the ministers is that of bridging security “gaps” in the approximately 1,500 km of national borders between the two countries.

“We need to find a way to arrange ourselves and work together so that the gaps on these frontiers can be filled up—a task to be carried out alternately by Brazil and Colombia. It's a way to distribute the efforts and collaborate, since there are no conditions for a total blockage, as most of the borders are either water frontiers or in wooded and sparsely populated areas. In fact, this distribution shows how much we're willing to apply it in different countries,” he said.

Demining

Jungmann said that Brazil is to expand its cooperation work with Colombia in deactivating and removing land mines planted by guerrilla groups, a process known as demining. The Colombian authorities, in turn, agreed to share data on the delivery of weapons as a result of the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Villegas believes the actions unveiled aim to send a message to “all delinquents as well as the criminal organizations active in both countries that the authorities are more closely united than ever and eager to share data that make it possible to dismantle such groups.”

Brazil's and Colombia's defense ministers further announced that a new meeting will be held in four months with a view to monitor the progress of the plans. The idea is to have representatives from both nations' Defense, Foreign, and Justice Ministries.

During the meeting, Raul Jungmann conferred a decoration to Minister Villegas as a way to acknowledge and show gratitude for the support from the Colombian Army in the airplane crash involving football team Chapecoense.