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Argentina worries over U.S. military bases in Colombia
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11:32, August 18, 2009

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by Alejandra del Palacio

Argentine Defense Minister Nilda Garre on Monday expressed concern over the establishment of U.S. military bases in Colombia, saying that "it is very worrying."

Garre made the remark when attending a ceremony for the 159th anniversary of General Jose de San Martin's death. General Martin was the liberator of Argentina.

Colombia and the United States on Friday completed talks over their military cooperation that would allow Washington to use five aerial and two naval bases in the Colombian territory, which provoked a controversy in South America.

The agreement also allows the presence in the Colombian territory of some 800 U.S. soldiers and 600 Pentagon's contractors. But military operations by Washington against other countries from Colombia are not allowed.

Though the United States and Colombia have said the plan was designed to strengthen Colombia's anti-drug and anti-rebel efforts, many South American countries have voiced their concerns over more U.S. military presence in the region.

Argentine president Cristina Fernandez had urged the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) to hold a special meeting to discuss the issue.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was expected to attend the meeting scheduled for Aug. 28 in southern Argentina to explain the controversial agreement.

Source: Xinhua

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