[QODLink]
Americas
US urges Colombia to sustain ties
Colombia asked to take "appropriate steps" after military pact ruled unconstitutional.
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2010 00:28 GMT
The deal signed in October 2009 grants the US military access to Colombian bases [AFP]

The United States has asked Colombia to take "appropriate steps" to sustain relations a day after a key bilateral military accord was declared unconstitutional.

A Colombian constitutional court on Tuesday ruled the accord was unconstitutional because it had not received approval from the Colombian congress.

The agreement gives US military access to seven Colombian bases, a move that does not sit well with neighbouring Venezuela which has firmly opposed the 2009 accord as a threat to its government.

On Wednesday Philip Crowley, a US state department spokesman, said the US looks "to the Santos government to take appropriate steps to make sure that we can sustain our bilateral relationship".

"There can be, you know, actions taken by the executive or by the legislative branch to overcome, you know, the questions that have been raised," Crowley said.

Military pact

The US has sought to allay Latin American concerns about the military pact by insisting that it is not aimed at third countries.

The agreement, it says, which limits the number of US military personnel in Colombia to 800 and the number of US civilian contractors to 600, is aimed at fostering bilateral cooperation against drug trafficking, illegal armed groups and terrorism.

Charles Luoma-Overstreet, another US state department official, told AFP that the close US-Colombian defence cooperation will continue under previously existing agreements.

The US has provided Colombia, its most important ally in South America, more than $6bn in aid over the past decade to combat drug trafficking and leftist guerrillas under a programme known as Plan Colombia.

At the end of last year, the US congress approved 46 million dollars to refurbish Colombia's Palanquero base, one of the seven included under the agreement.

But congress made it clear it was not authorising the establishment of a permanent US base on Colombian territory.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
Treatment for autism in the region has progressed, but lack of awareness and support services remains a challenge.
The past isn't far away for a people exiled from Crimea by Russia and the decades it took to get home.
join our mailing list