Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 22:46:03 -0600 (CST)
From: Colombian Labor Monitor <email@example.com>
Subject: Ecuador to Let U.S. Use Air Base for WoD
Ecuador to Let U.S. Use Air Base for Drug Fight
Colombian Labor Monitor, Sunday 14 November 1999
QUITO, Ecuador -- Ecuador said on Saturday it agreed to let the United States use one of Ecuador's air bases for 10 years as part of regional efforts to crack down on drug trafficking.
Under the deal, signed by Ecuador's Foreign Minister Benjamin Ortiz, unarmed U.S. surveillance planes will operate from Ecuador's Manta military air base on the Ecuador coast. The U.S. aircraft will only be permitted to carry out anti-drug operations.
As part of the deal, the United States, Ecuador's largest trading partner, will invest $70 million in the Manta air base over the course of the pact.
Top U.S. anti-drug official Barry McCaffrey has said Ecuador is increasingly being used as a transit point for shipments of drugs from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia to the United States and Europe.
The deal, which has been in the works since February, comes as Ecuador works to find financing for a $50 million anti-drug plan it presented in June.
Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited
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