The United States and Brazil are close to agreement on ways to cooperate on shooting down aircraft over Brazil that belong to drug dealers form neighboring countries, a top U.S. diplomat said Tuesday.
“Although there is no final agreement yet, we are very close to one,” U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Donna Hrinak told reporters.
In 1998, Brazil’s Congress approved a sweeping law regulating the nation’s airspace. However, Congress left the job of detailing rules for shooting down of unidentified aircraft to the executive branch of government.
In May, Defense Minister Jose Viegas said the government would publish such rules by the end of June. He said, at that time, that Brazil was interested in cooperating closely with U.S. officials in tracking aircraft in the region owned by alleged drug dealers.
Hrinak said U.S. officials need to know that criteria for shooting down planes is the same under the Brazilian law as under U.S. laws. “If so, then we can help Brazil by offering information on aircraft leaving Colombia with drugs, for example,” she said.
Brazil is not a major drug producing nation, but shares borders with notable producers Colombia, Bolivia and Peru and is a major transshipment point for cocaine headed mostly to Europe.