from State Department briefing on 2003 budget request, February 4, 2002
Briefing on FY 2003
International Affairs Budget
Joseph W. Bowab and
James L. Millette, Bureau of Resource Management; William Taylor, Coordinator
of Assistance to Europe and Central Asia; and Curt Struble, Bureau of
On-the-Record Briefing on the President's FY 2002 International Affairs
February 4, 2002
QUESTION: I know
you mentioned the (inaudible) in Colombia, and that's the reason why your
budget increases $98 million for a new (inaudible). Could you be more
specific about that new dimension on the war on drugs in Colombia?
MR. STRUBLE: My name
is Curt Struble and I'm from the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.
I will take that question. We have a long-term, broad-based approach to
Colombia that emphasizes helping the Government of Colombia to establish
rule of law, administration of justice, protect human rights, to develop
economically and socially, and then to combat narcotics and terrorism.
The $98 million in
foreign military financing is not for counter-narcotics. That's the reason
why it's separate from the counter-narcotics budget item that goes through
our Bureau for International Narcotics Affairs. Instead, this money is
to assist units of the Colombian armed forces that are responsible for
protecting a critical piece of infrastructure, the Cano Limon pipeline.
The Cano Limon pipeline last year was attacked 166 times, shutting it
down for 243 days. This has had a very significant impact on Colombian
exports, on the ability of the Government of Colombia to generate the
funds and resources that is needed for economic growth and social development.
with this, it means that the US Government is going to support the Colombian
Government to fight against the guerillas?
MR. STRUBEL: No.
What it means is that the US Government is going to support Colombian
military units for a specific mission and objective. We do that now. We
have, for example, through our anti-terrorism assistance program assistance
that goes to both the Colombian police and the Colombian armed forces
directed against kidnapping. And most kidnappings in Colombia are done
by the FARC and the ELN. So we also have counter-narcotics brigades that
operate in areas where the FARC and the AUC are active.
QUESTION: Is this
equipment or training, or can you specify what the --
MR. STRUBEL: Right.
It's for equipment and training.
QUESTION: Was that
amount separate from the 731?
MR. STRUBEL: That's
QUESTION: Can you
address this? Some of your critics are saying that this is crossing over
a line; it's moving from being involved in a war on drugs which directly
involves the United States, and being involved in a counter-insurgency
effort that really has to do with the civil war.
MR. STRUBEL: Well,
I think those critics perhaps haven't been fully attentive to the broad
range of objectives that we have had in Colombia, and I have outlined
those for you. And I see this as being entirely consistent with that.
QUESTION: Just to
follow up on that, is this in line with last year's renaming of it an
Andean Initiative? Is this a sign that there's going to be fuller engagement
now in the overall problem?
MR. STRUBEL: No,
I mean, last year's renaming -- last year's establishment of an Andean
Initiative was intended to recognize that the counter-narcotics problem
requires a regional approach. But as I said, this is not part of our counter-narcotics
program. So I wouldn't associate the two.
As of February 6,
2002, this document was also available online at http://www.state.gov/m/rm/rls/rm/2002/7788.htm