Colombia will increase the number of troops on the border with Ecuador
to 27,000 to improve security, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos
Santos visited the border area Saturday and called on Ecuador to help Colombia improve border security. “To our Ecuadorean brothers we say that we are more than willing to cooperate and want to ask them to help us fight crime and drug trafficking,” he said in the Putumayo department.
President Uribe Sunday additionally announced the creation of a special Unified Southern Command that will be in charge of the security enforcements in the Nariño and Putumayo departments.
“The coming days we will have the Unified Southern Command to make more advances in public order,” Uribe said in Pasto, the capital of Nariño. The two departments not only suffer from guerrilla and paramilitary activity, but also from unrest after the collapse of the DRFE pyramid scheme and the shut down of all DMG activities, both leaving numerous families without income.
Ecuador on several occasions denounced the presence of right wing paramilitaries on Ecuadorean soil, while Colombia accused Ecuador of allowing left wing guerrillas on is territory.
The Colombian attack on a FARC camp on Ecuadorean soil in March 2008 forced Quito to break off all diplomatic ties with its northern neighbor. Neither governments have shown much interest in re-establishing ties since then.
Santos said Saturday his government is more than willing to re-establish ties. “i send my admiration, respect and friendship to the people of Ecuador and I can only say that the Ministry of Defense and the security forces are more than interested in the restoration of realtion with Ecuador.”