Colombian Defense Minister: Ties with Israel strong, growing stronger

Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday praised his country's long defense relationship with Israel, saying he sought to boost it further by setting up a bilateral fund for technological research and development. Hosting Santos at his official Jerusalem residence, President Shimon Peres said that in the 1950s, Colombia defied international embargoes to ship weapons to the newly created Jewish state, a statement from Peres' office said. "In recent years the situation has come full circle, and Israel is able to repay Colombia in kind," it quoted Peres as saying, without elaborating.