Arms race not our aim: Colombian Prez


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Jun 29, 2009
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Arms race not our aim: Colombian Prez

United Nations: Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has pledged that his country will "never" partake in an arms race, in response to critics of a US deal to use Colombian military bases.

"Our goal is to restore domestic security, never to participate in an arms race in the bloody game of international warfare," Uribe told the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

"Our tradition is to respect the international community."

Colombia has pledged to allow the United States, its closest ally, to use seven bases for help in fighting insurgencies and drug traffickers -- although the pact is still to be signed.

Several countries in the region -- notably Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia -- have objected to Washington's plan, claiming the US military deployment would be suspiciously large for the stated purpose of fighting Colombian drug traffickers and rebels.

Tensions have flared in Latin America since the deal emerged, with Venezuelan Hugo Chavez warning "winds of war" were blowing across the continent.

Fears of an arms race in the region were raised further in recent weeks as Caracas purchased four billion dollars' worth of Russian military hardware.

"We did not want to buy arms, but what are we to do if the Yankees are setting up seven bases in Colombia?" Chavez said last week. "We are gearing up for defense."

US officials have repeatedly insisted the deal involves using Colombian bases and not building their own facilities on South American soil.

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