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Cooperation a Must to Counter Narcoterrorist Threat

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

QUITO, Ecuador, April 12, 2005 – At every stop in South America, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has stressed the need for regional and global cooperation in the war on terror.

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Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers addresses a question from the local media in Quito, Ecuador, on April 11. Myers and his staff met with military and civilian leaders in the South American nation to further military-to-military relations. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF

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Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers stressed this point again during a meeting with Ecuadorian leaders April 11.

Myers met with President Lucio Gutierrez, Defense Minister Nelson Herrera and Chief of Defense Vice Adm. Victor Rosero. He traveled to Quito from Colombia.

During a press conference following his meeting with the president, Myers thanked Ecuador for its help in the war on terrorism. He called the nation of 13.6 million people a good ally of the United States.

He thanked Ecuador for sending a company of military engineers to Haiti. "They are performing a valuable service in helping rebuild Haiti," Myers said.

U.S. government officials said countering the threat posed by narcoterrorists must be a region-wide effort. While Colombia is the epicenter of the drug trafficking problem, the whole region feels aftershocks.

Ecuador shares a border with Colombia. The main terrorist group in Colombia -the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC - uses drug money to sponsor its revolution. In reality, FARC is a simple terror organization that has lost any intellectual underpinnings to its rebellion, officials said.

The organization has money and it has bought people on both sides of the Ecuador-Colombia border, U.S. officials said. It is important that both countries work together to make the border area secure.

Cooperation is tough for some countries, but embassy personnel use the balloon analogy to show why it is necessary. They point out that if you squeeze a balloon it just bulges out in another place. The way to break a balloon is the squeeze at all points at the same time.

If the Colombians are squeezing narcoterrorists in that country, then Brazilians, Peruvians and Ecuadorians must squeeze too, officials noted.

It is crucial "because terrorism knows no borders," Myers said. "Terrorists have no morals. They are a danger to all.

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Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAir Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Ecuadorian Chairman of Defense Adm. Victor Rosero address questions from reporters in Quito, Ecuador, on April 11. Myers called the nation of 13.6 million people a good ally of the United States. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF  
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