Colombian President Virgilio Barco urged the presidents of six other Latin American countries to form a common front against cocaine traffickers who have declared a "total war" against his country.
The presidents, all members of the so-called Group of Eight, met Wednesday under extraordinary security aimed at protecting them from attack by powerful communist guerrilla groups that control large areas of Peru.The meetings at the hotel Las Dunas in Ica, 155 miles southeast of Lima, were to end Friday.
In their opening remarks, the presidents praised Colombia's struggle in its war against the powerful cartels that control 80 percent of the world's cocaine trade.
Barco, his country bloodied by scores of bombings since an Aug. 25 declaration of "total war" by cocaine cartels, called on the Group of Eight to begin planning in unison to fight drug traffickers.
"It is important to create a working group of ministers that must meet periodically to coordinate and refine multilateral actions against narcotics traffickers and to evaluate the progress," Barco said in addressing his fellow presidents.
Also attending were presidents Carlos Menem of Argentina, Jose Sarney of Brazil, Carlos Salinas of Mexico, Julio Maria Sanguinetti of Uruguay, Carlos Andres Perez of Venezuela and host Alan Garcia of Peru.
Absent was Panama, which was suspended from the group when President Eric Arturo de Valle was removed by Gen. Manuel Noriega in February 1988 after Valle tried to fire Noriega.