The Rio de Janeiro branch of Spain's Cervantes Institute will help train military instructors to teach Spanish to Brazilian army troops, as per an agreement announced Tuesday.

The pact was sealed on the occasion of a visit made to the military General Staff School by Spain's ambassador to Brazil, Manuel de la Camara.

The envoy applauded the "excellent initiative" for the course to train instructors, something that shows that "the Cervantes Institute is acquiring more and more prestige in this country."

"Spanish is recognized as being one of the world's main languages and it couldn't be any other way than for the armed forces of Brazil to be determined for its officers to speak and know Spanish," he said.

The instructors will take a 40-hour course created by the Cervantes Institute to train them in the methodology of teaching Spanish.

Teaching a foreign language to future soldiers is necessary "for the focus on integration with friendly forces and countries," the commandant of the General Staff School, Gen. Walter Stoffel, told Efe.

The director of the Cervantes Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Antonio Martinez, noted that Brazil is surrounded by seven nations where Spanish is spoken.

Military sources calculate that 40 percent of the students at the General Staff School are asking for Spanish classes and that the figure is approaching the roughly 50 percent requesting English classes. EFE