Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe will not attend a meeting of South
American leaders to discuss his decision to host U.S. military bases in
The government considered that the UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) meeting in Quito, Ecuador, is not the appropriate place to discuss the military agreement between Colombia and the United States since it is only a deal between two nations, newspaper El Espectador reported Friday.
“This agreement seeks to combat terrorism and not neighboring countries,” a source of the Casa de Nariño said when announcing that Uribe and Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez will not attend the meeting.
Colombia “is not the aggressor of the international community, it is respectful to the law. Our biggest problem is internal terrorism, this is the reason for our fight and with this international relations must be patient,” Uribe said.
Ecuador and Venezuela do not welcome the U.S. military bases in
Colombia. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is afraid that the United
States will use the bases to invade Venezuela. Last week, Chavez ordered tanks to the Colombian border after both Colombia and the U.S. announced the approaching increased co-operation deal. On Tuesday, Chavez froze relations with Colombia.
The U.S. and Colombia are working on an agreement to allow the United States to
use Colombian air bases for its ‘war on drugs’ in the Caribbean and
Atlantic. The U.S. were conducting operations from an airbase in
Ecuador (Manta), but have been told that this contract will expire in November.