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Homeland Security

18 August 2004

U.S. Continues Assistance for Colombian Aerial Interdiction Program

President authorizes support of Airbridge Denial Program

President Bush has authorized the U.S. Department of State to continue assistance to Colombia in carrying out an Airbridge Denial Program against civil aircraft suspected of trafficking illicit drugs, according to an August 17 White House statement.

The program supplies Colombia with equipment and intelligence to stem airborne drug traffic.

In granting this authorization, the White House said, the president has determined that Colombia has appropriate procedures in place to guard against the loss of innocent lives in connection with the interdiction effort.

The Airbridge Denial Program was suspended in April 2001 after a missionary plane was mistakenly shot down in Peru. With new safety protocols in place, Colombia reintroduced the program with U.S. assistance in August of 2003, and captured or destroyed seven aircraft in the last four months of the year.

Following are the texts of the White House statement and a related memorandum:

(begin text)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Hedgesville, West Virginia)
August 17, 2004

STATEMENT BY THE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY

The President has authorized the Department of State to continue assistance to Colombia in carrying out an "Airbridge Denial Program" against civil aircraft reasonably suspected of trafficking in illicit drugs. In granting this authorization, the President has determined that Colombia has put in place appropriate procedures to protect against loss of innocent life in connection with interdiction operations. The United States Department of State, with the support of other U.S. agencies, has the ability to continue to work with the Government of Colombia to ensure effective counternarcotics operations while observing strict adherence to agreed-upon and well-established safety procedures.

(end text of White House statement)

(begin text of White House memorandum)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Hedgesville, West Virginia)
August 17, 2004

Presidential Determination
No. 2004-42

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

SUBJECT: Continuation of U.S. Drug Interdiction
Assistance to the Government of Colombia

Pursuant to the authority vested in me by section 1012 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995, as amended (22 U.S.C. 2291-4), I hereby certify, with respect to Colombia, that: (1) interdiction of aircraft reasonably suspected to be primarily engaged in illicit drug trafficking in that country's airspace is necessary because of the extraordinary threat posed by illicit drug trafficking to the national security of that country; and (2) that country has appropriate procedures in place to protect against innocent loss of life in the air and on the ground in connection with such interdiction, which shall at a minimum include effective means to identify and warn an aircraft before the use of force is directed against the aircraft.

The Secretary of State is authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register and to notify the Congress of this determination.

GEORGE W. BUSH

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



This page printed from: http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2004&m=August&x=20040818113542ASrelliM0.3745844&t=livefeeds/wf-latest.html



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