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DATE=2/12/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-226690
TITLE=ALBRIGHT-COLOMBIA HELICOPTERS (L ONLY)
BYLINE=RON PEMSTEIN
DATELINE=STATE DEPARTMENT
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 
INTRO: SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT HAS TOLD CONGRESS, 
THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE COLOMBIA 
50-MILLION DOLLARS' WORTH OF HELICOPTERS TO FIGHT NARCOTICS. RON 
PEMSTEIN REPORTS FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT ON THE CONTROVERSY.
TEXT:  AT THE END OF LAST YEAR, CONGRESS AUTHORIZED THE 
ADMINISTRATION TO SPEND 36-MILLION DOLLARS ON HIGH-FLYING 'BLACK 
HAWK' HELICOPTERS TO HELP COLOMBIA FIGHT NARCOTICS. THE 
ADMINISTRATION WAS ALSO TOLD TO SPEND 14-MILLION DOLLARS TO 
UPGRADE COLOMBIA'S EXISTING U-H ONE, KNOWN AS HUEY, HELICOPTERS.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE 
ASKED THE SECRETARY OF STATE WHY THE ADMINISTRATION CANNOT 
DELIVER THE HELICOPTERS TO COLOMBIA IF IT WANTS TO BE TAKEN 
SERIOUSLY IN THE ANTI-NARCOTICS EFFORT.
MS. ALBRIGHT TOLD THE COMMITTEE,THE MONEY FOR HELICOPTERS FOR 
COLOMBIA IS A QUARTER OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S BUDGET FOR 
FIGHTING DRUGS IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.
                       ///ALBRIGHT ACT///
         I THINK THERE IS SOME DISPUTE AS TO WHETHER THOSE 
         HELICOPTERS ARE NEEDED OR NOT. GENERAL (BARRY) MCCAFFREY
         WITH WHOM I SPOKE BEFORE I CAME TO HAVE BREAKFAST WITH 
         YOU, HE BELIEVES THAT THEY ARE NOT NECESSARY AND WE HAVE
         THIS BUDGET OF 230-MILLION OR SO, 50-MILLION OF THAT 
         WOULD HAVE TO BE SPENT ON THE HELICOPTERS, AND IT WOULD 
         HAVE A CASCADING EFFECT ON OUR DRUG PROGRAMS THROUGHOUT 
         THE WORLD.
                          ///END ACT///
THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE, BENJAMIN GILMAN, ASKED THE STATE 
DEPARTMENT TO TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT THE PROGRAM, INSISTING THE 
MILITARY POLICE IN COLOMBIA NEED THE EQUIPMENT. STATE DEPARTMENT 
OFFICIALS SAY THE COLOMBIAN POLICE HAVE MANAGED TO CONVINCE 
CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS THAT THEY NEED MORE FLASHY HELICOPTERS.
INDIANA CONGRESSMAN DAN BURTON IS ONE OF THOSE REPUBLICANS. HE 
DRAMATIZED THE SITUATION FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE.
                        ///BURTON ACT///
         I HAVE PICTURE AFTER PICTURE AFTER PICTURE OF THESE 
         PEOPLE BEING MUTILATED DOWN THERE IN THEIR HELICOPTERS 
         AND SHOT DOWN BECAUSE THE MINI-GUNS AREN'T THERE AND 
         BECAUSE THE HELICOPTERS ARE NOT BEING UPGRADED SO THEY 
         CAN FLY AT HIGH ALTITUDES TO GET TO NOT ONLY THE COCAINE
         CROPS, THE COCA CROPS, BUT ALSO THE HEROIN, THE POPPY 
         CROPS WHICH ARE AT VERY HIGH ALTITUDES AND THIS IS VERY 
         DISTRESSING.
                          ///END ACT///
CONGRESSMAN BURTON TOLD THE SECRETARY OF STATE PERU IS NO LONGER 
THE LEADING COCA PRODUCER IN SOUTH AMERICA. IT IS NOW  COLOMBIA, 
HE SAYS, AND THE UNITED STATES SHOULD GIVE THE NATIONAL POLICE 
WHATEVER THEY NEED.
                        ///BURTON ACT///
         WE HEAR FROM YOU TODAY WE DON'T THINK THAT'S A TOP 
         PRIORITY BECAUSE GENERAL MCCAFFREY IS RE-EVALUATING HIS 
         POSITION. THEY NEED THOSE HELICOPTERS. THEY NEED THOSE 
         MINI-GUNS. THEY ARE GETTING KILLED DOWN THERE, FIGHTING 
         FOR US AND OUR KIDS, AND YOU SAY WE DON'T NEED THEM. 
         THEY NEED THEM, I'M TELLING YOU, THEY NEED THEM.
                          ///END ACT///
COLOMBIA HAS BEEN NAMED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT AS NOT 
COOPERATING IN THE FIGHT AGAINST NARCOTICS. THIS DESIGNATION 
PROHIBITS AMERICAN AID TO COLOMBIA EXCEPT FOR FIGHTING DRUGS. THE
STATE DEPARTMENT PLANS TO MAKE ITS NEW FINDINGS AT THE END OF THE
MONTH WHEN THE COOPERATION OF COLOMBIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES WILL 
BE RE-EVALUATED.  (SIGNED)
NEB/RP/ENE/RRM
12-Feb-98 5:51 PM EST (2251 UTC)
NNNN
Source: Voice of America
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