from State Department Daily Briefing, July 1, 2003
Is the U.S. going to suspend the military aid to Colombia due to the fact
that they didn't sign the immunity?
The President made his decisions yesterday, signed the package for transmission
to Capitol Hill, on the American Servicemembers' Protection Act, and
that includes some waivers for countries that have signed Article 98
agreements with us but not ratified them. There is a four-month waiver
for countries who signed before May 1st and haven't yet ratified, a
six-month waiver for countries who signed after May 1st and haven't
yet ratified. In many cases, ratification means working things through
parliament, which takes some time in some places.
other countries, some 35 of them, that have not signed Article 98 agreements
and therefore don't qualify for a waiver, and so Colombia is one of
those countries. But as I think I said yesterday, this is an ongoing
issue that we're going to have to deal with, and we're going to keep
pressing countries to sign Article 98 agreements with us.
our assistance to Colombia, the great bulk of our assistance to Colombia,
is, indeed, counter-drug money and therefore not affected. It's not
military assistance, among the military assistance programs that are
affected by this law.
I think of some over a hundred million, a hundred million or more, in
military financing that we have for Colombia, I think all but about
5 million has been expended. So there is probably about 5 million of
our assistance to Colombia that's been suspended because of the Act
we proceed with this, we'll look at individual programs, as well, and
decide whether they need waivers. But our hope is to continue to work
with governments to secure and ratify Article 98 agreements that protect
American servicemembers from arbitrary or political prosecution by the
I said that money that has been spent, money that's been allocated,
remains allocated. Money that has not been allocated is not going to
be allocated. So it depends on the individual country and how much of
the money has been expended. We were asked a moment ago about Colombia,
and out of $100 million or more in military financing for Colombia,
there's $5 million left this year that's not been allocated. That money
Yes, I'm still confused about Colombia, first of all, because, you know,
it receives lots of help from the United States. So you're saying that
for this fiscal year, still, I mean, there are $5 million that they
won't receive that? What's going to happen for next year? Then the Colombian
president is saying that they have already a treaty of 1962 which is
kind of the same thing that the United States wants, so that that should
work. Does that work?
It's an issue that we have been discussing with the Government of Colombia.
The Secretary has talked to Foreign Minister Barco about it very recently
-- oh, in Santiago, Chile, which was not even a month ago now. So it's
something that we have discussed repeatedly and will continue to discuss
with the Government of Colombia to try to work things out. The Colombians
and the United States do have an existing agreement that has some relationship
to this, but we need to provide the kind of exemption that an Article
98 agreement would provide. That's our view.
going to happen next year, that depends on the state of affairs, whether
we can conclude agreements with Colombia and other governments. It depends
on the kind of assistance programs we might be contemplating. As always,
much of the U.S. assistance for Colombia has been in the form of anti-narcotics
efforts, and those are not covered by these restrictions. So it will
depend on the kind of program that we design for Colombia next year,
as well as where we are in terms of Article 98 agreements.
But they would have to sign that if they want to receive military help?
I mean, there's no other option? There's no getting away from it?
There are limited possibilities for waivers in the law, but how the
President should decide to exercise those I just can't tell you at this
Richard, may I see if I understand it? Because I also don't understand
what would happen next year. Does the President's act today mean it
is impossible for Colombia to receive additional military assistance
from the United States, point blank? In other words, if Congress --
Unless -- well --
Unless -- see, that the -- again, there are still some authorities in
this law to exercise specific waivers for specific programs. So, you
know, speculating on what kind of program we'll have next year, how
much of that money might be affected, if there are aspects of the program
we might want to waive, I think it's a little too early to do that now,
particularly given that we continue to pursue with Colombia and others
agreements under Article 98.
So if we
succeed in getting the non-surrender agreements with various governments,
we may not face that question come October 1st. If we do get to October
1st, it will depend on the kind of program that we're implementing in
But I'm trying to understand it. It may be that I am just confused about
this. Is it conceivable that Congress could appropriate additional military
assistance for Colombia, and that that would go forward absent, you
know, an Article 98 agreement, or absent a waiver, or, no, that's simply
It's not simply impossible but the authority, because there is some
additional waiver authority, it could be applied to a particular program.
But that hasn't been done at this point.
The 1st of October, what is that deadline? Could you explain that?
That's the start of our new fiscal year. So there is another pot of
money that has to be analyzed according to these criteria.
As of July
21, 2003, this document was also available online at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2003/22159.htm