April 9 (UPI) -- The United States' and El Salvador's armies concluded talks this week to ensure bilateral readiness and interoperability, a U.S. Army statement on Friday said.
The 15th version of the U.S.-El Salvador Staff Talks were conducted virtually, and followed up on agreed-to-actions, or ATAs, outlined in 2019 negotiations.
Many of those ATAs, including efforts to combat transnational threats such as drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal trafficking of people and weapons, were conducted virtually or cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 500 members of the Salvadoran armed forces were a part of the Multi-National Force-Iraq, from 2003 to 2009.
"Our two armies have stood the test of time," Maj. Gen. Daniel R. Walrath, commander of U.S. Army South said in a press release.
"We fought alongside each other in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now, we fight alongside each other to counter the transnational threats affecting our region," Walrath said.
Among the ATAs presented this year was an agreement to hold a tri-border exercise in 2022, involving the United States and neighbors El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. CENTAM Guardian will focus on collaboration between national and regional civilian and military entities.
"The three countries have common threats, and we believe a regional approach will strengthen their partnerships and regional stability and security," said Maj. Ruben Ramos of U.S. Army South.
El Salvador, Guatemala and the United States conducted naval exercises in the Pacific Ocean in January 2021.