By Dialogo September 07, 2011 The defense ministers of Brazil, Celso Amorim, and Argentina, Arturo Puricelli, ratified their countries’ commitment to maintaining the South Atlantic as an area of peace and free from nuclear weapons, among other points in a joint declaration signed on September 5 in Buenos Aires. During their meeting, the two ministers reviewed their countries’ bilateral cooperation agenda in the defense area, a press release issued by the Argentine ministry indicated. “For Brazil, nothing has been more important than rapprochement with Argentina, overcoming historical rivalries,” Amorim told the press on his first official visit to Argentina as defense minister, a post he took on a month ago, after serving as foreign minister in the administration of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. In accordance with what was agreed by the two countries’ presidents, Cristiana Kirchner and Dilma Rousseff, in July, the ministers resolved to intensify activities intended to developed a bilateral cooperation agenda in the defense area, in the context of the strategic alliance between the two countries. Within that framework, they identified areas of mutual interest, such as “maintaining the South Atlantic as an area of peace and cooperation and free from nuclear weapons,” according to the press release. The two ministers also analyzed the possibility of conducting combined exercises, with the possible participation of third countries. They resolved to coordinate positions with regard to the United Nations mission in Haiti, as well as actions and postures at the South American Defense Council (Consejo de Defensa Sudamericano) of the Union of South American Nations (Unión de Naciones Suramericanas) and other forums. In addition, they will promote an intensification of training exchanges, especially in defense engineering, and an increase in cooperation in the area of Antarctic training and logistical support. With regard to cooperation in defense technology and production, the declaration specified that the prototype development stage of the Gaucho is coming to an end, a light 4×4 vehicle that can be transported by air and is intended to equip the Armies of both countries. The two Governments also resolved to move forward on the development of armored vehicles and to cooperate in the area of naval and aerospace industry. Another objective is to “conclude as soon as possible” the process of signing an agreement between the two Governments on security measures for protecting classified information exchanged in the defense area, according to the statement.