Many Colombians support court's block of military pact with U.S.

16:37, August 19, 2010      

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Many Colombians Wednesday voiced their support of the Constitutional Court's ruling that said a controversial Colombia-U.S. military agreement was "unconstitutional."

The court Tuesday ruled that the agreement, which grants U.S. troops access to more Colombian military bases, was "unconstitutional," and ordered the Colombian Congress to review it.

Colombian Navy Commander Alvaro Echandia said he respected the decision made by the court.

"I am absolutely respectful, and I can't do anything but respect the law," he said. "So far we haven't enforced anything related to the new agreement, and the Navy hasn't built anything requested by the new agreement."

Meanwhile, Luis Guillermo Perez from the NGO Group of Attorneys argued the agreement was detrimental to the country and wouldn't benefit Colombians.

Perez said the public hadn't been informed enough of the agreement, which allows foreign troops on their soil.

Perez, together with some other lawyers, filed a lawsuit in the Constitutional Court last November, advocating that the agreement should be ratified by the Congress.

However, then President Alvaro Uribe said that would be unnecessary, adding he was just extending an earlier accord.

The Constitutional Court Tuesday ruled the agreement was a new one and wasn't the extension of an already existing one, so it should be subject to congressional review and approval.

The agreement, which was signed in 2009, authorized the presence of 1,400 U.S. troops in Colombian military bases.

It also triggered much controversy in other countries in the region, especially in Venezuela and Ecuador, which called the agreement a threat to regional peace and stability.

Source: Xinhua


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