The chief commanders of Colombia’s security forces Tuesday requested a
top-level security meeting with President Álvaro Uribe, Defense
Minister Juan Manuel Santos and Foreign Minister Jaime Bermúdez to
discuss how to fight illegal armed groups on the borders of Ecuador and
Venezuela. Uribe denied the request.
The request followed a clash between the Presidency and the Defense Ministry after the latter had defended the use of attacks on foreign territory as “legitimate defense.” The remarks made by Santos cause furious reactions from neighbors Venezuela and Ecuador.
Uribe reprimanded Santos and announced only the Foreign Minister Jaime Bermúdez is authorized to discuss matters that involve Venezuela and Ecuador.
The commanders of the armed forces wanted to talk to Uribe, Santos and Bermúdez about how to address the insecurity in the border regions and the presence of FARC and paramilitary forces that seem to go in and out of neighboring countries.
According to Caracol Radio, Uribe turned down the request. Sources within the presidential palace told the radiostation that the armed forces have all guidelines they need to conduct their operations and that Uribe allows no intervention on foreign territory as promised at the Rio Group in 2008.