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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 04:28 PM
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Paraguay rejects U.S. military co-operation deal
Paraguay rejects U.S. military co-operation deal
By Daniela Desantis, Reuters
September 17, 2009 2:01 PM

ASUNCION - Paraguay rejected a military co-operation agreement with the United States Thursday amid a growing diplomatic rift in South America over the presence of U.S. troops in the region.

Paraguay's socialist President Fernando Lugo said his government decided to halt a series of exercises between the Paraguayan and U.S. militaries. Similar programs have been carried out in the country in recent years.

"There would be about 500 U.S. military and other personnel in the country and that wouldn't go unnoticed," Lugo told reporters at a news conference.

"It's neither prudent nor convenient at this time and could raise concerns among the other members of the Mercosur and Unasur," he said, referring to South America's trade bloc and political group of regional leaders.

The decision comes as South American countries step up arms purchases and are divided over a U.S. plan to relocate its hub for anti-narcotics operations in Latin America to Colombia, which would host U.S. troops in seven military bases.

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