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UNASUR Promotes Transparency on Defense Spending Amongst its Members

The South American Defense Council (CDS) of the twelve-member Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) concluded a three-day meeting held in Guayaquil, Ecuador by agreeing to promote transparency on the defense capacities of its member countries, including budgets, infrastructure and agreements signed with countries outside the region.

After two days of deliberations, on May 6-7, Argentina and Chile committed to head the working group in order to develop a system to measure military spending.

The ministers of UNASUR finished the meeting with the approval of “an unprecedented and extraordinary step,” said the Ecuadorian Minister of Defense Javier Ponce, when referring to the measures aimed at strengthening military confidence.

Ponce added that this initiative came up within the UNASUR due to concerns over the seven U.S. military bases in Colombian territory, as established in an agreement signed in October 2009 by the U.S. and Colombia.

According to AFP, Minister Ponce said, “The transparency of the policies and investments in the defense sector is part of a plan of self-confidence and security measures.” He also said that “it wasn’t hard” to go forward on this issue.

MinCI, AFP, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the U.S. Press and Communications Office / May 10, 2010

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