MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Uruguayan lawmakers approved legislation Wednesday allowing eight U.S. aircraft and up to 400 American military personnel and civilians into the South American country to provide security for a Group of 20 summit of world leaders in neighboring Argentina.
The law, which was passed by a large majority in the Chamber of Deputies, authorizes the entry into Uruguay of three fuel cargo aircraft, two transport aircraft and three AWACS planes as well the crews and support personnel. The U.S. deployment will “provided logistical support and security” to the U.S. delegation, according to the legislation, which was needed under Uruguay’s constitution to permit foreign troops into the country.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be among the international leaders who attend the Nov. 30-Dec.1 meeting in Buenos Aires. The G20 is composed of 19 countries and the European Union.
While the bill easily passed, it divided Uruguay’s ruling party. Many lawmakers spoke out against it, questioning the need to provide such support when Uruguay is not a member of the G20.
“You don’t organize a wedding and ask the neighbors to use their bathroom,” lawmaker Alejandro Zavala said, even as he voted in favor of the law. “Argentina is quite large.”
The law had earlier been approved by Uruguay’s Senate.