In the largest security operation in Colombia since the visit of Pope Paul in 1966, about thirty thousand troops and police have been mobilised to guard six political leaders who are in Bogota.
In the largest security operation in Colombia since the visit of Pope Paul in 1966, about thirty thousand troops and police have been mobilised to guard six political leaders who are in Bogota. The six leaders, from Colombia, Panama, Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela and Costa Rica were met at Bogota airport by Colombia's President, Alfonso Lopez Michelsen. Their thirty-hour summit conference which began on Friday night (5 August) is thrashing out their approach to a new Panama Canal agreement with the United States, and they'll also discuss measures to stabilise world coffee prices.
SYNOPSIS: When Panama's President, General Omar Torrijos stepped from his plane, the Colombian president wasn't the only one to greet him. Security was obviously tight, as armed troops and police stood ready for any emergency.
The Panama leader will brief his colleagues on the possibilities of a new treaty for control of the Panama Canal. It's expected the summit will precede an announcement that a new treaty has been signed. The Jamaican Prime Minister, Michael Manley. Reports say, it's already become clear that the years of negotiations over the treaty have probably come to a fruitful end.
The other issue, the price of coffee, is important to Venezuela's representative, President Perez. Coffee experts from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Mexico will join the Colombians - the world's second largest coffee producers in an attempt to find a formula to stabilise coffee prices.
However, control of the Panama Canal is the major political issue to be decided.
It's thought the new treaty will give Panama that control, but not until the United States completes a gradual handover and withdraws its forces between now and the end of the century.