The US is seeking deeper security co-operation with its Latin American allies, US defence secretary Robert Gates has said.
Mr Gates was speaking as he began a visit to Colombia, where he was due to hold talks on a defence co-operation deal the two nations signed last year.
The accord provoked regional criticism, in particular from Venezuela.
Mr Gates's visit to the region comes two weeks after Russia concluded a major arms deal with Venezuela.
Mr Gates arrived in Bogota from Lima where he held talks on deepening an existing military partnership and working regionally to combat drug-trafficking.
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