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 News Article

Hagel Meets with Western Hemisphere Defense Ministers in Peru

By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2014 – The Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas, which began yesterday in Arequipa, Peru, provides a forum for the defense ministers from 34 nations to discuss their common interests.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel hosts a news conference following a tour of the Compania de Jesus Church in Arequipa, Peru, during the Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas, Oct. 13, 2014. DoD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met informally with several of his counterparts from South America at an Oct. 12 reception before the official start of the conference.

Yesterday’s plenary session was particularly significant, Hagel told reporters, as it was an opportunity “to hear from ministers on different points of view regarding different challenges and opportunities in a more formal setting.”

Following the full session, the defense secretary held bilateral discussions with some of his counterparts, where they “were able to talk more specifically about some of the challenges that we face bilaterally, as well as multilaterally,” he said.

The Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas was created in 1995 to increase defense and security cooperation across the Western Hemisphere. The meeting serves as a venue for discussions on confidence- and security-building measures, peace support operations, civil-military relations and emerging threats such as transnational organized crime and terrorism, according to the conference’s website.

“The importance of the Western Hemisphere to the world as represented by so many different cultures and ideas and values is important to recognize at a time when the world is undergoing an extensive challenge to its present world order,” the defense secretary said.

All countries and all people deserve support in their efforts to guarantee human rights and dignity -- whether they struggle for themselves or for others -- Hagel said. “At the same time we also are mindful of some of the manmade and natural disasters and threats that face our world today,” he added.

(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter: @roulododnews)


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