World must help Colombia to combat illegal drugs, rebel groups, says president

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has told the BBC the world must play a bigger role in helping his country combat illegal drugs and rebel groups. "There are many countries helping us and there are many countries that do not help us yet," the president said.

Mr Uribe was speaking two days after 29 Colombian soldiers were killed in an attack by left-wing Farc guerrillas. He has been using harsher rhetoric against Farc since the attack, the largest of its kind in his presidency. Mr Uribe told the BBC's Newshour programme Farc are the world's biggest source of illegal drugs and his country needs international help to fight them.

"We need international co-operation, international understanding because these terrorists... are the largest providers of illicit drugs in the world," he said. Tuesday's attack targeted soldiers protecting workers as they cleared land near a national park of the coca crop used as a base for manufacturing the drug cocaine. Mr Uribe said the attack had not deterred efforts to eradicate the coca plant from the region. "I want to underline our determination to go to the jungle again... to destroy the illicit plantations that Farc has put within this national park," he said. Mr Uribe told the BBC Colombians have a right to live in a country free of guerrillas, paramilitary groups, narcotics and corruption.

The ambush seems to have derailed international efforts to initiate talks between the government and the rebels on the exchange of prisoners, correspondents say, reports BBC news. I.L.

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