Colombia's defense minister says his country has no interest in joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The comments by Juan Carlos Pinzon appear to back away from a statement by President Juan Manuel Santos that had alarmed some other South American leaders.

Pinzon told W Radio on Tuesday that Colombia "cannot be a member, does not want to be a member of NATO."

Santos said over the weekend that Colombia planned to sign an agreement for cooperation with NATO "with a look also at entering that organization."

Pinzon says the agreement will only cover cooperation on human rights, military justice and education of troops. He says that will not involve military bases or troops.

Santos' initial statement prompted denunciations from the leftist governments of Venezuela and Bolivia.