US, Colombia Agree on Defense Cooperation

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez announced Tuesday in Washington, D.C., that the two nations have reached a provisional agreement that would allow the US access to seven Colombian military bases, including air force installations at Apiay, Malambo, and Palanquero, from which to mount counter-narcotics and counter-terrorist surveillance activities in the region. The agreement is now undergoing final review. The US has been looking for access rights to facilities in Latin America partner nations with the loss of Eloy Alfaro Air Base in Manta, Ecuador. Clinton said the agreement does not signal or authorize an increase in the US military presence in Colombia. (Fact sheet on agreement; Clinton-Bermudez press briefing transcript)