The United States hosted the first meeting of the Central America Security Experts Group at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on Monday, November 14. Representatives from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the European Union, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom met to coordinate law enforcement resources and capabilities, and to discuss cooperation activities in Central America.
Specifically, the delegates delineated responsibilities for priority program areas and projects across donor countries, including national donor leads for activities under the “Combating Organized Crime” pillar, one of the main elements the Central American Integration System (SICA) discussed with donors in September. The meeting is in line with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s commitment to have the United States co-lead, with Mexico and Colombia, donor efforts in support of this pillar and the initiatives prioritized by the SICA countries.
The meeting was co-chaired by William R. Brownfield, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Rubén Beltrán, Mexican Under Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean and from Colombia, Patti Londoño, Vice Foreign Minister of Multilateral Affairs and Jorge Enrique Bedoya, Vice Minister of Defense for Political and International Affairs.
The United States delegation also included: María Otero, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs; Roberta S. Jacobson, Acting Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs; William Wechsler, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, U. S. Department of Defense; and Mark Feierstein, Assistant Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development.
The group agreed to meet again in Mexico within six months to continue the dialogue of donor coordination and combating crime in Central America.