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| 9/14/2009 12:00:00 AM

U.S. Approves Colombia Aid Despite Rights Concerns

Sept 14--Reports of extrajudicial killings and domestic wiretapping in Colombia are troubling, but Bogota has made enough progress on human rights to receive the remainder of its 2009 U.S. military aid, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

Colombia, the world's top cocaine exporter, has received more than $6 billion in mostly military and anti-narcotics aid from Washington since 2000 to help it battle drug traffickers and Marxist FARC guerrillas waging Latin America's oldest insurgency.

Under U.S. law a portion of the aid is withheld each year until the State Department certifies to Congress that Colombia is meeting requirements regarding human rights and paramilitary groups.

U.S. lawmakers placed the condition on the aid because of concerns about the increase in right-wing paramilitary activity and extrajudicial killings amid Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's drive to end the country's 45-year leftist insurgency.

"There is no question that improvement must be made in certain areas," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement.
 
Read more here.
 
Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in ourhome.
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