The Times of India

Arms race not our aim, Colombian President Alvaro tells UN

Sept 24--Colombian President Alvaro Uribe pledged Wednesday that his country will "never" partake in an arms race, in response to critics of a US deal to use Colombian military bases.

24 de septiembre de 2009

Our goal is to restore domestic security, never to participate in an arms race in the bloody game of international warfare," Uribe told the United Nations General Assembly.

"Our tradition is to respect the international community."

Colombia has pledged to allow the United States, its closest ally, to use seven bases for help in fighting insurgencies and drug traffickers -- although the pact is still to be signed.

Several countries in the region -- notably Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia -- have objected to Washington's plan, claiming the US military deployment would be suspiciously large for the stated purpose of fighting Colombian drug traffickers and rebels.

Tensions have flared in Latin America since the deal emerged, with Venezuelan Hugo Chavez warning "winds of war" were blowing across the continent.
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