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Defence Minister to Attend 10th Conference of Defence Ministers of the Americas

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 10/07/12 -- The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, and Chief of Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk, are attending the tenth biennial Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA), which is being hosted this year in Punta Del Este, Uruguay from October 8-11.

This Conference brings together defence ministers and senior officials from the Americas to discuss common regional defence and security issues.

"Canada is pleased to be working with our hemispheric partners in meeting common challenges." said Minister MacKay. "Improving the hemispheric response to large-scale disasters at home or abroad, is important for our Government. We are pleased to be working with Chile as co-rapporteurs for the CDMA working group on natural disasters."

Minister MacKay also noted that hemispheric discussions on humanitarian assistance disaster relief are a key area of potential cooperation which will benefit all people in the region.

"Canada and the Canadian Forces are committed to continuing to build on our existing defence relationships in the Americas," said General Natynczyk. "This conference is an excellent opportunity where we can meet face to face with the defence leaders of the Americas to discuss defence and security issues and increase our cooperation towards a more secure hemisphere. By better understanding each other, we can work more effectively to improve both regional security and our common ability to support humanitarian relief operations when they arise."

While attending the CDMA, Minister MacKay will be conducting a series of bi-lateral meetings with his counterparts from other hemispheric nations, as well as the Secretary General of the Organization of American States.

"Canada has been a strong partner in promoting stability throughout the Americas," said the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs). "This Conference provides Canada with an important opportunity to foster deeper ties with our neighbours, and to chart the way towards a more prosperous and secure future for the people of our region."

This year, the CDMA will focus on the themes of natural disasters and environmental protectionism, peacekeeping operations, and the concepts of security and defence, including the Inter-American Defense System.

Late last month, Minister MacKay was awarded the Dr. William J. Perry Award by the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies for his significant contribution to defence and security education in the hemisphere, as well as for his dedication to the purpose and goals of the CDMA in building a secure and democratic hemisphere. Minister MacKay is one of the longest serving ministers at the Conference.

The first CDMA was held in 1995. It was created to provide a forum for defence and security ministers to share ideas and experiences on contemporary regional defence and security issues. The CDMA has emerged as an important means to promote security and stability in the hemisphere. Canada hosted the eighth CDMA in Banff in 2008.

For more information on the CDMA please see http://www.cdmamericas.org.

Note to Editors: For more information regarding Canada-Latin America/Caribbean Defence Relations, please visit the following link: http://www.forces.gc.ca/admpol/CLAC_defence_relations-eng.html

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