Public Papers

Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Popadiuk on President Bush's Telephone Conversation With President Virgilio Barco Vargas of Colombia


President Bush called President Barco today to express regret over the recent misunderstanding resulting from erroneous press stories about a proposed U.S. counternarcotics operation. President Bush explained that the U.S. had intended a cooperative effort with Colombia that could complement President Barco's courageous and determined effort to break up the narcotics cartels and bring traffickers to justice. President Bush assured President Barco that the United States never intended to conduct any activities within Colombian territorial waters, that no U.S. actions would be taken without the full cooperation and consent of the Colombian Government, that no blockade was ever contemplated, and that he had not authorized naval maneuvers, as incorrectly described in the press.

The two Presidents agreed that it was most unfortunate that inaccurate and confusing reports of tentative U.S. proposals for cooperation with the Colombian Government had created such a false impression. President Barco said that he regretted the erroneous press stories which had emanated from both Colombia and the United States and that he always knew that President Bush would never approve actions which impinged on Colombian sovereignty.

President Bush assured President Barco that the United States would take no actions without prior consultations with and the cooperation of the Government of Colombia. The two Presidents agreed to remain in close contact on this and other issues of mutual concern.