EFECartagena, Colombia

Colombia and the United States held joint naval exercises in the South American country's Caribbean waters on the weekend to "ratify the mutual trust" that exists between the two nations, Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano said Monday.

"In particular, this exercise is being conducted within the scope of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), given that Colombia is a global partner country of NATO and, of course, the United States," the minister told reporters regarding the naval activities undertaken over the weekend.

Molano noted that the two nations have common interests in the Caribbean including efforts to hinder or halt drug trafficking, in which 40 countries are participating and joining forces to seize cocaine and other illicit drugs.