Ecuador says its President Rafael Correa is yet to receive an invitation to Colombian President-Elect Juan Manuel Santos’ inauguration on August 7, despite reports that the Ecuadorean leader has been officially invited.
In a statement released by the Ecuadorean presidency, Ecudaor’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said that “At this time we had not received any formal invitation from the Colombian government” to attend Santos’ swearing-in.
On Monday Colombia’s future foreign minister, Maria Angela Holguin told reporters that all the invitations had been sent. The minister stressed that the invitations had been sent through the Colombian Foreign Embassies in Bogota and some delay between cities is to be expected.
In specific reference to President Chavez, the future minister said the incoming president would be “very pleased” to see the Venezuelan leader attend the inauguration.
Diplomatic relations between Ecuador and Colombia have been strained for some time. An Ecuadorean court issued a warrant for Santos’ arrest for his involvement in the cross-border military operation which killed FARC leader “Raul Reyes” in March 2008, whilst Santos was serving as defense minister.
Ecuador has repeatedly stated that the rebuilding of diplomatic ties is dependent on Colombia handing over information from files found on Reyes’ computer after the raid. Colombia has alleged that the files implicate Correa’s government in complicity with the FARC.
Commenting on the arrest warrant, Correa stated that Santos would be arrested if he ever visited Ecuador.
More recently, a scandal over allegations that Colombian intelligence agency DAS conducted illegal surveillance on Correa, as well as other high profile Ecuadoreans has further tested relations between the neighbors.
Correa said that if he were to be invited, he would re-arrange his schedule to participate in the ceremony.