Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa reiterated Tuesday that Colombian presidential candidate Juan Manuel Santos‘ “pride” over the 2008 cross-border FARC attack, makes the candidate “a danger not just to Ecuador but to the whole region.”
“I don’t want to interfere in the internal politics of a country, much less during a presidential campaign, but what I can confirm is what I already said: those declarations openly attack international and inter-American rights,” Correa said.
The president was referring to comments Santos made during a presidential debate a few weeks ago, in which the former defense minister said that he was proud of his role in the Colombian army’s 2008 bombing of a FARC camp on Ecuadorean territory and that he “left open the possibility of a repeat attack.”
Following the debate, Correa warned Colombia against any repeat of the 2008 raid, saying that his country’s military is “prepared” for such an attack and would consider it a “causus belli,” a reason to go to war.
Correa said Tuesday that Santos’ comment should affect Ecuador’s case against the presidential candidate. An Ecuadorean court on Monday issued a warrant for Santos’ arrest, for his involvement in the cross-border military operation that killed FARC leader Raul Reyes in March 2008.
Colombia rejected the charges, stating that it “does not recognize the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Ecuadorean justice to investigate and try former and present Colombian officials.” Santos said that the incident is a matter of state and not personal responsibility.
Santos’ comments about the raid have affected the dialogue to normalize relations between the two nations. Ecuador said that it will not engage in any more talks until after Colombia’s upcoming May presidential elections.
Ecuador severed diplomatic relations with Colombia in March 2008, following the Colombia army’s incursion onto Ecuadorean soil in pursuit of FARC rebels. Ecuador saw the incident as undermining its sovereignty.
The two nations began to work at restoring severed ties in September last year.
A “Commission on Sensitive Subjects” was formed at at a heads of states’ meeting in Mexico in February, with the intention of addressing contentious issues between the two countries. Negotiations have since stalled.
Colombia’s presidential elections are scheduled for May 30.