Uribe Anticipates that Agreement with the U.S. will Expand International Cooperation

Por Dialogo
julio 22, 2009

Bogotá, July 20 (EFE).- Today Colombian President Álvaro Uribe expressed his
expectation that the counternarcotics and counterterrorism cooperation agreement
that his country is negotiating with the United States will provide for the possible
expansion of this collaboration to regional and worldwide spheres.

The agreement under discussion “includes the possibility of expanding
regional and worldwide cooperation against these evils, by virtue of shared
responsibility,” Uribe said during an appearance before the Congress in Bogotá.

For the last several months, Colombia and the United States have been
negotiating an agreement to allow U.S. armed forces to access at least three
Colombian military installations.

With this access, Washington is seeking to make up for the closure of the
Ecuadorian base of Manta, which has operated since 1999 under a lease agreement that
the current president of the Andean country, Rafael Correa, has refused to renew.

Uribe affirmed that the accord under negotiation “is intended to strengthen
Colombian military bases, not to open American bases.”

The Americans will be allowed “limited use of and access to” the Colombian
installations by virtue of the projected agreement, which “will be governed by
principles like sovereign equality, territorial integrity, and non-intervention in
the internal affairs of other states,” he immediately emphasized.

The Colombian leader observed that the aim is “to fight against drugs,
transnational organized crime, terrorism, and weapons spread.”

“Terrorism and acts of violence are chains of slavery that have not yet been
entirely broken, financed by drug trafficking. For this reason the agreement with
the United States of America is intended to eradicate them forever,” Uribe affirmed.

The president considered that his country gains nothing when the
international community transmits expressions of solidarity and condolences in
response to kidnappings and bloodshed in Colombia.

“Cooperation needs to be effective and not symbolic,” added Uribe, who was
speaking about the negotiations as part of the opening ceremonies for the regular
congressional session.

This session, which will last until June 2010, will be the last session of
the current Congress, as new congressional elections will be held in March of the
coming year.