US negotiating to build new air base in Peru

June 17th, 2008 - 1:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Lima, June 17 (IANS) The US is negotiating with the Peruvian armed forces to build an air base in the Andean country, EFE said quoting media reports. Peru’s army chief General Edwin Donayre has said that talks with the US military are under way over the construction of an air base in Ayacucho, 575 km southeast of Lima, Peru.21 newspaper reported Monday.

“The Joint Command is coordinating with the United States over the installation of an air base,” Donayer said, adding that the move “has nothing to do with the humanitarian work being carried out in Ayacucho by US troops”.

The Peruvian government has allowed the US armed forces to carry out humanitarian work in the southern region of Ayacucho, giving rise to criticism that the move may lead to increased military presence of US in the country.

According to the government, 30,000 people in Ayacucho, one of the country’s most lawless and impoverished areas, will benefit from the medical services being provided by the US troops in the region.

The Pentagon is seeking a new home for the US military unit that since 1999 has been coordinating operations against drug trafficking in the area between the Manta airbase in eastern Ecuador and its Pacific coast.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has said the agreement under which the US contingent operates from Manta will not be renewed when it expires next year.

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