Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Friday defended the pending U.S.-Colombian
military pact at the beginning of a special UNASUR summit on the
deal and asked all South American countries to recognize the FARC as
Uribe defended Colombia’s right to receive help from the U.S. in its fight against drug trafficking and guerrilla groups.
Colombia has had a series of agreements with the U.S. since 1952 and “made an important step in 2000 with Plan Colombia,” the President said, referring to the previous multi-billion U.S-Colombian cooperation to fight drug trafficking in Colombia.
The Colombian President avoided speaking about the contents of the controversial deal that has caused unease in Latin America and is fiercely rejected by Colombia’s neighbors Ecuador and Venezuela.
Uribe, speaking for some 20 minutes, challenged South American leaders to actively join Colombia in its fight against the FARC and denounced countries like Venezuela and Ecuador that refuse to consider the FARC a terrorist group.
“We are worried that in the language of some, these groups [FARC and ELN] are spoken of as political allies. We are extremely concerned, and we think that this should be discussed, that these groups can hide in territories outside Colombia and come from these territories to commit crimes and return to hide there,” Uribe said.
“Colombia hopes that all countries of UNASUR recognize these groups as terrorist groups,” Uribe said, stressing Colombia hopes to establish agreement, “especially with neighbors,” to work together on security issues.