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Uruguayan president rejects U.S. military bases in Colombia
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09:24, August 07, 2009

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Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez voiced his opposition on Thursday to a pending U.S.-Colombia deal on boosting U.S. military presence in Colombia.

Vazquez expressed his stand while meeting with his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe, said a press release issued by Vazquez's office.

The Uruguayan president "reaffirmed" the long-term stand his country has held "against the existence of the establishment of foreign military bases not only in Paraguay but also in any part of Latin America," it said.

Vazquez also said that there must be the "full observance of the non-intervention principle on internal issues of countries."

Vazquez met Thursday morning with Uribe during the latter's whirlwind seven-nation tour which was designed to head off regional concerns over the pending deal.

Under the pact, Washington could gain access to at least seven Colombian military bases by the year 2019, and in return, Washington would offer Bogota some 5 billion U.S. dollars in aid.

Though Washington and Bogota have said the plan was designed to strengthen Colombia's anti-drug and anti-rebel efforts, many South American countries have voiced their concerns.

Uribe's tour finished Thursday in Brazil after visiting Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

A summit of the Union of South American Nations slated for next Monday is expected to discuss the issue, and Bolivian President Evo Morales said he would call on his counterparts in the region to reject the U.S.-Colombia pact.

Source: Xinhua

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