South American Presidents, united in Argentina for a summit over
Colombia’s plan to allow the United States access to a number of its
military bases, called on their Security and Defense Ministers to meet
and improve military ties between UNASUR member states.
The conclusion is a mild victory for Colombia, which was able to prevent any reference to the controversial military pact with the U.S. was included in the final document.
The Security and Defense Minister will meet in September to “pursue greater transparency” among UNASUR member states, but also to find ways to counter arms smuggling, drug trafficking and terrorism, issues Colombia had demanded were put on the agenda that was initially reserved to discussing Colombia’s military plans.
Nevertheless, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who revealed no details about the pact with the U.S., stood alone during the summit and did not receive support from other UNASUR members for his country’s military cooperation with the U.S.
The Colombian President received fierce criticism from the Presidents of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, while Presidents of Paraguay, Chile and Brazil reiterated their concern about Colombia’s military co-operation deal with the U.S.
Despite the resistance, Uribe made no concessions to the plan and insisted the cooperation with Colombia’s North American ally was crucial for his country’s fight against guerrilla groups and drug traffickers.
The meeting of Defense and Security Ministers is expected to take place in the first half of September.