Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has asked the governor of Nariño, a department on the border with Ecuador, to mediate with the neighbor government in order to restore diplomatic ties between the two countries that have been strained since March 2008.
“Through the governor, I want to repeat to the Ecuadorean people and government our complete willingness to proceed in the way of better understanding between our peoples and our governments,” Uribe told governor Antonio Navarro, a former member of the M19 guerrilla movement and current member of the social-democratic party Polo Democratico.
Uribe’s move is the first explicit attempt to restore relations after a cross-border attack on a FARC camp in March 2008 forced Ecuador to break off relations. Since then, both governments have interchanged numerous accusations and insults, but have never really openly attempted to restore relations.
The Colombian President, under international pressure, did apologize for the attack on two occasions, but his administration continued to defend Colombia’s right to preventive attacks against illegal armed groups, even when they are in a neighboring country.
An improvement of relations came within sight after the Foreign Ministers of Ecuador and Colombia shook hands at a mid-August summit in Peru. Two weeks ago, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Fander Falconi said the two governments were trying to find ways out of the diplomatic crisis and he expected talks to begin in September.