Ecuador’s foreign minister defends the re-opening of legal proceedings against Colombian commander Freddy Padilla for his part in the 2008 cross-border FARC camp raid, saying it is a “responsibility of the judicial function,” reports EFE.
Foreign minister Ricardo Patiño said in a press conference the Ecuadorian judiciary should be respected and that “the judges involved those they believe have to be involved.”
Patiño’s comments followed the announcement from prosecutor Carlos Jiminez that the investigations into Padilla for violating Ecuador’s territorial sovereignty in the raid which killed FARC leader “Raul Reyes” would be re-opened.
Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva categorically rejected the new investigation saying that “is as if there was an effort, a conspiracy, to prevent full normalization of relations between the two countries.”
Colombian authorities sent Ecuador a diplomatic note Wednesday reiterating their support for Padilla, after President Uribe released a statement Tuesday defending the commander.
“It is inexplicable that the sister republic Ecuador through its administration of justice insists on linking ex-ministers and top officials with criminals when they have done a heroic job against terrorism,” Uribe said.
When questioned over the Colombian president’s statement, Ricardo Patiño did not give much away, saying that he thought that the decision to re-open the case would not affect the thawing ties between the two neighbors.
The foreign minister denied that relations with Colombia were on the agenda for a meeting scheduled tomorrow between Ecuadorean authorities, Organization of American States Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza, and U.S. Under-Secretary for Latin American affairs Arturo Valenzuela.
However, Patiño said that although the principal topic of conversation will be the issue of Honduras, the situation with Colombia “could arise.”