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US might support Colombia NATO bid: US official
by Staff Writers
Washington, 3 Jun 2013


Four rebels killed in Colombia clashes; government
Bogota (AFP) June 3, 2013 - Four leftist FARC guerrillas have been killed in recent clashes in Colombia's southern Putumayo province, which borders Ecuador and Peru, authorities said Monday.

The rebels were killed in a rural area near Puerto Leguizamo during a military operation in which five people were taken prisoner, including three minors, an Ecuadoran and an Indian, the government said in a statement.

The latest casualties of Colombia's almost half century old insurgency came despite recent signs of progress in peace talks in Havana between the government and the FARC.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, is the country's largest guerrilla group with some 8,000 fighters.

The United States might support a bid by Colombia for NATO membership just as it has backed the close Latin American ally in other international fora, a senior State Department official said Monday.

"Our goal is certainly to support Colombia as being a capable and strong member of lots of different international organizations, and that might well include NATO," said Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs.

"Ultimately this is a decision that all of the NATO members would have to make," she added.

Colombia this month will sign a cooperation agreement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization with a view ultimately to membership, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday.

"It is not all that surprising that the Colombians are interested in where else they would be able to interact," Jacobson said.

Bolivian President Evo Morales called the move a "provocation" and a threat to "anti-imperialist" countries like Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua or Ecuador.

He said he was prepared to ask for a meeting of UNASUR, a grouping that includes most South American countries, to discuss the issue.

Jacobson would not comment on Morales's statements.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, will meet Tuesday in Antigua, Guatemala, with foreign ministers from around the region at a gathering of the Organization of American States focused on counter-drug policies.

"He's looking forward to that conversation," said Jacobson. "There's a very strong coincidences of views."

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Colombia heads toward NATO membership
Bogota (AFP) June 1, 2013
Colombia's defense ministry later this month will sign a cooperation agreement with NATO, in hopes of joining the international military alliance, President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday. "In June, NATO will sign an agreement with the Colombian government, with the Defense Ministry, to start a process of rapprochement and cooperation, with an eye toward also joining that organization," Sa ... read more


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