The Colombian goverment has sufficient grounds to sign the military bases agreement with the U.S. without running it through Congress first, Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez said Monday.
The Minister said that the executive has the ability to push the process forward because any decision by the State Council on the matter “isn’t binding,” Caracol Radio reported Monday.
Bermudez said that while the government viewed the State Council “with much respect”, the executive hoped to have the agreement signed soon.
El Tiempo recently revealed that the signing agreement was being held up by intense debate in the State Council.
Colombia’s Constitutional Court recommended Friday that the agreement first pass through Congress because the scope of the new negotiations with the U.S. go beyond a simple addition to previous treaties.
One of the most controversial aspects of the agreement is granting U.S. military access to seven military and navy bases in Colombia. Critics of the plan are also concerned about how much control Colombia would have over the activities of the U.S. personnel.
“Colombia needs these kind of mechanisms of cooperation,” Bermudez said.
According to Bermudez, the goverment has a solid legal case on which to proceed with the signing of the agreement autonomously of Congress, Caracol Radio reported.