Done Deal

The US and Colombia on Oct. 30 signed the new bilateral defense cooperation agreement that grants the US access to at least seven Colombian military bases, including three air force installations, from which to mount counter-narcotics and counter-terrorist surveillance activities in the eastern Pacific region. The agreement is now in force, the US State Department said in a release. The two nations first announced the pact back in August. It does not authorize an increase in the US military presence in Colombia. The US had sought access rights to new facilities in a Latin America partner nation after Ecuador declined to renew the lease to use Eloy Alfaro Air Base in Manta that the US had used since 1999 for the surveillance missions. The US vacated Eloy Alfaro in September. (For more, read the Reuters news wire service report from Oct. 30) (Fact sheet on agreement)