By U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs 

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, Rear Adm. Sean Buck, hosted the Commandant of the Colombian coast guard, Rear Adm. Andrés Vásquez Villegas, and other senior Colombian naval officers to conduct Maritime Staff Talks (MST) from May 16-17.
The MST serves to enhance our maritime partnership with Colombia through face-to-face meetings, presentations and dialogues about the challenges and shared goals of each nation for the year ahead. 

"This was an excellent opportunity to strengthen our relationship," said Villegas. "We hope this friendship continues between our two countries who are always working towards the same objectives, integrating our military forces in different operations; we thank you for your support."

Colombia and the U.S., along with 14 other partner nations, will come together again this summer to participate in UNITAS LVIII. UNITAS, the longest-running annual maritime exercise in the world, is geared toward improving the coordination and multinational cooperation of the participating forces.

"As remarked at the beginning of this MST, Colombia has participated in each UNITAS exercise since its inception," said Buck. "Our rich history of working together has been reinforced by your commitment in coming up here to participate in these staff talks. The work that we have done over the past couple of days will allow our navies to continue to operate effectively together in the years to come." 

Upon the conclusion of the MST, both nations will have a stronger working relationship and clear-cut goals for the upcoming year to enhance interoperability through numerous multinational exercises. 

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT) fulfills the maritime role within U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations. USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT employs maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, fortify the ability of U.S. forces to work together with partner nations, and build enduring partnerships with the ultimate goal of enhancing regional security and promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central, and South American regions.