the washington post

Clinton says Colombian deal will not create bases

Aug 19--A new U.S.-Colombia security pact that has angered some South American nations is aimed at fighting drug trafficking and terrorism and will not create U.S. bases in the Andean nation, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday.

The proposal to allow U.S. forces to use up to seven Colombian military installations has fueled tensions in the Andes, where Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his leftist allies oppose U.S. influence.

But Clinton sought to ensure critics like Chavez that the United States did not have ulterior motives with the bases.

"The agreement does not create U.S. bases in Colombia," Clinton said in a news conference with Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez. "The United States does not have and does not seek bases inside Colombia."
A senior State Department official said the plan combines a number of existing cooperation agreements relating to counter-narcotics, defense and security.

Colombia, the world's top cocaine exporter, has received more than $5 billion in U.S. aid since 2000 to battle drug traffickers and Marxist FARC guerrillas waging Latin America's oldest insurgency.

Under the new agreement, which was reached on August 14 and is expected to be signed in a few weeks, there will be no "significant" permanent increase in U.S. military presence in Colombia, Clinton said.
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