Colombia declares US base share deal unconstitutional
A Colombian court has declared as unconstitutional a deal which gave US troops access to its military bases.
The constitutional court ruled the 2009 accord should be redrafted as an international treaty and sent to the Colombian Congress for approval.
The plan allowed the US to use seven bases to help with operations against drug trafficking and terrorism.
But it was criticised by other Latin American countries over a concern about the rise in US influence in the region.
The US was forced to look for a new centre for regional operations after Ecuador refused to renew the lease on its military base of Manta.
The deal, passed by former President Alvaro Uribe in October 2009, gave the US access to the bases for 10 years and would see a maximum of 800 US military personnel and 600 civilian defence contractors based in Colombia.
They would operate the US aircraft that maintain 24-hour monitoring of the region, intercepting communications and coordinating with spy satellites to protect US interests.
But the court's chief justice Mauricio Gonzalez said the deal was "an arrangement which requires the State to take on new obligations as well as an extension of previous ones".
He said that as such, it should be "handled as an international treaty, that is, subject to congressional approval".
The court did not rule on the legitimacy of the agreement itself.
The BBC's Latin America editor Warren Bull said the ruling is unlikely to generate a crisis in US-Colombia relations.
The government of the new President Juan Manuel Santos has a large majority in Congress and he will be confident of getting a redrafted version of the agreement approved.
Old post about it... And yet another one.
Didn't see that one coming.