The United States might support a bid by Colombia for NATO membership just as it has backed the close Latin American ally in other international fora, AFP reports citing a senior State Department official.
"Our goal is certainly to support Colombia as being a capable and strong member of lots of different international organizations, and that might well include NATO," said Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs.
"Ultimately this is a decision that all of the NATO members would have to make," she added.
Colombia this month will sign a cooperation agreement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization with a view ultimately to membership, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday.
"It is not all that surprising that the Colombians are interested in where else they would be able to interact," Jacobson said.
Bolivian President Evo Morales called the move a "provocation" and a threat to "anti-imperialist" countries like Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua or Ecuador.
He said he was prepared to ask for a meeting of UNASUR, a grouping that includes most South American countries, to discuss the issue.
Jacobson would not comment on Morales's statements.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, meanwhile, will meet Tuesday in Antigua, Guatemala, with foreign ministers from around the region at a gathering of the Organization of American States focused on counter-drug policies.
"He's looking forward to that conversation," said Jacobson. "There's a very strong coincidences of views."