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Colombia to become first Latin American NATO 'global partner'

© POOL/AFP/File | In addition to Colombia, NATO lists Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan as "partners across the globe" or simply "global partners."

BOGOTA (AFP) - 

Colombia will next week formally become NATO's first Latin American "global partner," President Juan Manuel Santos announced Friday.

Santos, who won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end a half-century of armed conflict with the former rebel movement FARC, said the move would improve Colombia's image on the world stage.

"We will formalize in Brussels next week -- and this is very important -- Colombia's entry into NATO in the category of global partner. We will be the only country in Latin America with this privilege," the president said in a televised address.

In addition to Colombia, NATO lists Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan as "partners across the globe" or simply "global partners."

Each country "has developed an Individual Partnership Cooperation Program" with the 29-country US-led alliance, with many contributing actively to NATO missions.

Colombia and NATO reached a partnership deal in May 2017 following the conclusion of the peace accord with FARC, now a political party.

According to NATO's website areas of cooperation include cyber security, maritime security, terrorism and its links to organized crime, as well as building the capacities and capabilities of the Colombian armed forces.

© 2018 AFP