Posted by Adriaan Alsema on Jul 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Military deal with US needs no approval of Congress: Minister

Colombia news - Freddy Padilla

A deal, allowing the United States to use Colombian bases for its war
on drugs
, can be made without approval of Colombia’s Congress. The pact is
nothing but an extension of an already existing bilateral agreement,
Colombia’s Defense Minister said Thursday.

“This agreement is more of the same, makes part of the same collaboration, moreover it is an agreement that complies with the Colombian constitution,” Defense Minister and Armed Forces Commander Freddy Padilla told Caracol Radio.

The agreement, involving the possible deployment of hundreds of U.S. troops on an airbase 60 miles north of Bogota and the possibility for the U.S. to use five existing airbases throughout the country, encounters resistance from coalition parties that fear the agreement can further deteriorate relations with neighboring countries like Ecuador and Venezuela.

Padilla does not share that concern, because the U.S. will not be allowed attacking other countries from the Colombian bases, he said.

The United States is looking for alternative ways to combat drug trafficking after Ecuador told the north-American country it is no longer allowed to use an airbase just off the Ecuadorean Pacific coast.