BBC News

Uribe to tour region over US pact

Aug 04--Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is to tour other South American countries concerned about plans to increase the US military presence in Colombia.

4 de agosto de 2009

Bogota said he would visit this week Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and was planning trips to three other nations.

Venezuela has expressed alarm at plans to relocate US anti-drug forces to bases in Colombia, and Brazilian officials also say they are concerned.

The US-Colombian deal is expected to be signed later this month.

While the final details of the document have yet to be published, it seems a 10-year agreement will be signed allowing US troops, aircraft and naval vessels access to at least four Colombian bases, the BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Colombia says.

However, there is very little practical change to the US presence in Colombia, which has been a fact of life since 1999 and the launch of the US anti-narcotics strategy known as Plan Colombia, our correspondent says.

He adds that there is no change to the number of troops that can be stationed in the country: a maximum of 800 soldiers and 600 defence contractors.
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