Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin thanked the Ecuador government for welcoming approximately 50,000 Colombian refugees that have fled to Ecuador due to poverty and forced displacement in previous years.
Speaking at the bilateral cabinet talks between Ecuador and Colombia Tuesday, Holguin called Ecuador’s willingness to take in refugees an “extremely generous” act, reported local news sources.
Early in 2012 the United Nations promised $500,000 in aid to the Colombian refugee population living in Ecuador, many of whom live in extreme poverty.
Indeed, according to the UN approximately 40% “live close to the border in underdeveloped, isolated parts of the country with limited infrastructure and services”, in areas where “human trafficking and arms smuggling run rampant”.
The agenda for the bilateral talks was decided by the two respective foreign ministers in a meeting in Ecuador’s capital on December 7, and will address a range of topics including border control, migration, the environment, energy, and investment, reported America Economia.
The bilateral discussions are being held in the Ecuadorian border town of Tulcan.