The United States’ military presence in Colombia will be “minimal,”
Christopher McMullen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S.
Department of State, told an Ecuadorean newspaper.
The high official told newspaper El Comercio the U.S. plans to be in Colombia two or three years and plans to keep the numbers of troops at a minimum.
The U.S. is keen on the Colombian collaboration “in case there is a humanitarian emergency, a disaster, more problems with the FARC or other illegal armed groups.”
McMullen said that “there has been confusion” among leaders in Latin America in the interpretation of the controversial U.S.-Colombian pact.
“Maybe President Uribe has not communicated the military pact clearly.
Maybe there is a lot of speculation about it,” McMullen said about the
ongoing rejection of the plan about leftist South American leaders like
Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Rafael Correa of Ecuador.
“We do not want and do not have plans to construct bases in Colombia. We have been using bases since the beginning of Plan Colombia (a U.S.-Colombian pact to jointly fight Colombia’s domestic drug trade)”
According to McMullen the U.S. only seek the use of three army bases, even though Colombia’s highest military command have already agreed on the use of seven.
According to Argentinean media, U.S. President Barack Obama is willing to talk to South American leaders at the next meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations to explain the plans with Colombia. Uribe plans to do the same at a summit in Agrentina the end of this month on the subject.