State Department Noon Briefing

Daily Press Briefing
Wednesday, December 6, 2000

BRIEFER: Richard Boucher, Spokesman


Q: On Colombia - actually, on Colombia and Venezuela, there was an
article in the Miami Herald saying that Mr. Peter Romero had said that
the State Department is aware of some kind of intentions from
President Chavez of (inaudible) kind of regional force in Colombia,
Venezuela and Ecuador. Do you have any comments on that?

MR. BOUCHER: Sorry. Once again? Romero says - the Miami Herald says
Romero says Chavez is trying to put together - supporting a regional

Q: Trying to - making contacts with the guerillas in Colombia and
trying to - do you know what I'm talking about?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, that's what I have seen. I just wanted to make sure
we were talking about the same thing.

There have been reports in various ways on Venezuelan support for
violent indigenous movements in Bolivia, for military officers
involved in last January's attempted coup in Ecuador, and these are
situations that we do look into and we watch carefully. We do believe
that the issues themselves are best dealt with bilaterally between the
two countries involved, and in this case we have encouraged bilateral
consultations directly.

Q: And when you say that the State Department knows about this, it
means that maybe the United States can take any step in this case, or
you are going to leave this for the bilateral relations?

MR. BOUCHER: I think, as I said, we are aware of reports from various
sources, but what is important is that the countries themselves deal
with it directly in a bilateral way.

Q: On Colombia again. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations
today to the Colombian Government about the (inaudible) military zone?
Tomorrow President Pastrana has to decide if he extends that zone or
not. Do you have any comments on that?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check. I don't think we have taken a
position on that.

Q: Do you have anything about the statement General McCaffrey made
yesterday about some people, members of the FARC, that were supposed
to be arrested at sea in possession of cocaine or narco-trafficking?


Q: No? Okay.

MR. BOUCHER: That's the kind of detailed thing that he would handle,
and not us directly.

Q: Thanks.

MR. BOUCHER: Thank you.