SANTIAGO, Chile, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says the United States and Chile have agreed to strengthen military ties.
In as effort to strengthen the U.S. military relationship with Chile, Gates, on a weeklong tour of Latin America, met with Chilean Defense Minister Jose Mario Goni, according to the American Forces Press Service.
“Our bilateral relationship is strong because it is based on our shared values of democracy, our economy and our commitment to social justice and human rights,” Gates said, in a statement. “These values strengthen our countries and result in better governments, growing economies, lowering poverty rates and a more effective defense against today’s challenges and threats.”
Gates says the United States was encouraged by Chilean peacekeeping efforts in the region and said that the U.S. military and Chile would increase the interoperability with more military exchanges and bilateral operations including further exchanges between the two countries’ military academies and educational institutions and more joint military exercises, among other items.
Additionally, Gates and Mario Goni signed a reciprocal health agreement between the two countries that provides service members and families access to host-country military healthcare facilities.