The Colombian government gave in to the demands of the country’s State
Council to first consult with the high court before allowing the United
States to use Colombian airbases for anti-narcotics operations.
The Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs and the Interior and Justice Minister will meet with the President and vice-President of the Council of State to explain the agreement and seek the court’s approval.
Thursday, the State Council had warned the government not to make any deals with the U.S. because the deployment of foreign troops without consult would be unconstitutional.
Defense Minister Freddy Padilla wanted to push through the agreement without consulting Congress, because the deal in his words is just an extension of Plan Colombia and “nothing new.”
His claim was supported by US ambassador William Brownfield, who Thursday said “this is not a question of Colombian sovereignty. In my humble opinion it is a matter of collaboration between two countries against a common threat, the threat of illicit drugs,” the ambassador said in Bogota.
The United States are seeking ways to continue their anti-narcotics operations in the Pacific and Caribbean after Ecuador had told the Americans they had to leave the Manta base, an airbase just off the Ecuadorean coast. The U.S. and Colombia are already collaborating closely to fight left-wing guerrillas and drug gangs in Colombia.