US To Play No Role In Colombia Military Operations: Envoy

By Dialogo
November 04, 2009

Washington has no plans to take part in military operations in Colombia, the US ambassador insisted in an interview published Sunday, after Bogota granted the United States access to seven military bases for counternarcotics operations. "Never, never, never. We are not going to participate in military operations in Colombia," said US Ambassador William Brownfield in an interview in the "El Tiempo" newspaper. The deal signed Friday by Brownfield and Colombia's Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez during a brief closed-door ceremony in Bogota, has angered leftist South American governments wary of US presence in the region. Brownfield told the Colombian daily, however, that for Washington to play a military role in the country not only would be bad politics, but would contravene US law. The envoy praised Colombia's army as one of the most "sophisticated" in the region, which, he said has no need of US support. The exact text of the 10-year deal, which Washington says is aimed at boosting cooperation in fighting guerrillas and bolstering anti-drug trafficking efforts, will be disclosed this week, officials said.