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Ecuador will host in 2020 the largest naval exercise carried out annually by the United States Navy with other Latin American naval fleets, called UNITAS, revealed Thursday the Ecuadorian Defense Minister, Oswaldo Jarrín.
“The UNITAS operation will be carried out next year, approximately in the month of August or September. The important thing is that more than 18 countries participate with their naval force, with delegations of their naval fleets to carry out a maritime exercise in Ecuador, “Jarrin said at a press conference.
The Minister of Defense appeared together with the commander of the US Southern Command, Craig Faller, who is in Ecuador in the context of a renewed effort of cooperation between both nations, and who stressed the importance of joint actions for the benefit of the population. Ecuadorian
The UNITAS maritime simulation arises from the First Naval Conference held in Panama in 1959, within the framework of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) and every year its headquarters alternates between the Atlantic, Pacific and Caribbean.
Referring to these exercises, Jarrin stressed that they will benefit the country, “because our naval force is updated, acquires training, puts its ships ready for enlistment and exchanges with other countries.”
He also stressed that the presence in Ecuadorian territorial waters of military vessels of several countries serves as a deterrent against illegal fishing and transnational crime.
Faller reviewed the military cooperation with the Andean country and highlighted that in the last year more than 4,000 Ecuadorian patients from the province of Esmeraldas have benefited thanks to the assistance of the hospital ship Comfort of the US Navy.
“Missions like these show that we can overcome any threat by taking advantage of the strength that comes from a unified response,” the head of the US Southern Command stressed.
He added that “an example of this common response is that Ecuador has agreed to be the base of the largest naval event we have, UNITAS.”
On the other hand, Jarrin mentioned several aspects in which cooperation with the US has been narrowed, as in military equipment, in communication systems, martial training, or the institutional field through the FMS fund, (Foreign Military Sales, for short) in English) for the purchase of war material.
The person in charge of the Defense of Ecuador mentioned the incorporation of Lockheed P-3 Orion aircraft, maritime patrollers that support the Ecuadorian naval force, which are still in the experimental phase, although a radar has already been installed on an Ecuadorian aircraft. to fight drug trafficking.
He mentioned that Ecuador has also acquired ammunition and that the ship Comfort will return this year to the coastal province of Manabí to serve the most needy population.