BOGOTA, Colombia (March 21, 2012) -- United States Army South and the Colombian army began army-to-army staff talks here March 21 to promote bilateral professional relationships and coordinate engagement activities.Army South, as the U.S. Army's executive agent, conducts the bi-lateral talks with Colombia annually as a strategic forum to guide the armies' interaction for the upcoming year."We have a strong and enduring relationship with the Colombian army," said Maj. Gen. Simeon G. Trombitas, commander of Army South and head of the U.S. delegation. "As a strategic ally and global partner, we share many common security concerns with Colombia. By working closely with the army and planning our interactions, we can address these concerns together for mutual benefit."During the staff talks, the delegations will discuss future strategic and operational engagement opportunities. Specific areas of discussion include humanitarian and disaster response, military intelligence and counter improvised explosive device (IED) training as well as sharing information on maintenance, family readiness, military law and logistical support."These staff talks are important because they set the path for our exchanges with the Colombian army and we use the talks to ensure that both partners agree on what we are going to do and the future progression of our relationship," said Col. Jim K. Rose, chief of the Army South security cooperation division. "Both partners gain from our exchanges, both have something to offer in terms of expertise. Through the staff talks we can plan exchanges that maximize the expertise and capacity of both armies."This is the third round of staff talks conducted by Army South with the Colombian army. On behalf of the army, Army South also conducts staff talks with three other countries in the region: El Salvador, Chile and Brazil. These staff talks were agreed to by the four countries through the diplomatic process and serve to enhance cooperation and interoperability that positively affect regional stability and security.