Colombia offered to renew diplomatic relations with neighboring
Ecuador, but Quito said Bogota must first pay for the damage it caused
during its cross-border military incursion last year against a FARC
Ecuador broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia after the March
1 military attack in Ecuador that killed the Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia’s number two man and netted a computer trove of information
on the Colombian rebel group.
Prodded by an Organization of
American States mission to “rebuild trust” between the two countries,
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Friday said he would welcome renewed
ties with Quito.
“I hope we can rebuild our relations with the
Ecuadoran government. We have great affection for the people of Ecuador
… We bear no hatred; hatred is simply a barrier to imagination,”
Uribe told diplomats presenting their credentials in Bogota.
Uribe said Colombia’s reason for the March incursion was “to defeat terrorism, never to offend our fellow nations.”
But Ecuador promptly rejected Uribe’s offer.
Ecuadoran government will not resume those diplomatic relations until
Colombia pays for the damages it caused during that attack,” Foreign
Minister Fender Falconi said in Quito.
Ecuador, he added, “will
resume diplomatic relations once Colombia meets the minimum
requirements” it has set out, which include providing all the details
of the attack, which Ecuador suspects was carried out with US support.
a hostile gesture earlier this week, Ecuador toughened its entry
requirements for Colombian visitors, which Colombia Foreign Minister
Jaime Bermudez called a “discriminatory, stigmatizing and perhaps even
xenophobic treatment … of Colombians.”
Colombia’s March raid on
the FARC camp killed more than 20 people, including FARC’s number-two
guerrilla Raul Reyes, four Mexicans and an Ecuadoran.
diplomatic stand-off quickly ensued, with Quito expelling Bogota’s
ambassador on March 3 and both sides ordering thousands of troops to
their common border. (AFP)