Colombia on Wednesday rejected an order from an Ecuadorean judge to arrest Colombia’s military chief over a bombing raid carried out on Ecuador’s side of the border last year, which led to a break-off of diplomatic ties.
The March 2008 bombardment killed a key Colombian guerrilla leader and set off a diplomatic firestorm in which the leftist government of Ecuador broke ties with Bogota.
Colombia and Ecuador have made headway toward re-establishing ties in recent weeks, but the arrest order issued against Colombian military commander Freddy Padilla threatens to bog down reconciliation talks.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Washington’s top ally in left-leaning South America, suggested that a bilateral meeting that had been scheduled for Friday be put off until the issue is settled.
“The Colombian government does not recognize the jurisdiction of Ecuadorean justice to investigate and judge Colombian officials or former officials,” said a statement issued on Colombia’s presidential website.
An Ecuadorean court had recently requested the extradition of former Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos in connection with the bombing raid. Raul Reyes, No. 2 commander of Colombia’s biggest rebel army, was killed in the attack.
“Colombia reiterates that it is necessary to find a solution to this problem in order to advance in the normalization of diplomatic relations,” the statement said. (Reuters)