Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Wednesday spoke out against the danger of entering into an “arms race” that could be “hugely damaging,” following news on Monday that Russia may sell $5 billion of weapons to Venezuela, reports Colombian media.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum held in the coastal city of Cartagena, President Uribe said Colombia “will not participate in the arms race,” explaining that “although we believe countries must fulfil their duty in combatting terrorism, we also believe that the arms race is extremely damaging.”
“We want to be friends with all countries, but we need all governments to comply with the human need to confront violence and combat it,” announced Uribe.
Uribe said that the need to combat violence and terrorism in Colombia is his top concern as leader.
The U.S. assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, Arturo Valenzula, also referenced the issue of aggression in the region, in a meeting with Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva on Tuesday, stressing the need to “ensure that this is a continent at peace, where one cannot tolerate the aggression of one country to another.”
Valenzula expressed the U.S.’s concerns about security across the Americas. “We are very concerned about the issue of organized crime, we are concerned about the issue of drug trafficking, which remains a scourge in many of our countries, and certainly we are concerned about potential threats that could compromise the security of one country against another country.”
Uribe and Valenzula’s comments follow news that Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez, in a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, had raised concerns about Venezuela’s potential purchase of $5 billion worth of arms from Russia.