Ecuadorean Defense Minister Javier Ponce said the country’s re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Colombia is an “irreversible process,” and that relations between the two countries will continue to improve.
Ties between the neighboring nations were broken in March 2008, following a Colombian military raid on a FARC camp in Ecuadorean territory, which killed FARC leader “Raul Reyes” and 25 others. Ecuador viewed the incursion as violating its sovereignty, and cut ties with Colombia.
Relations between the neighboring countries have warmed under the administration of new Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who handed over to Ecuador files allegedly seized from Raul Reyes’ computer, which supposedly implicated the Ecuadorean government in dealings with the FARC.
Ponce said that while Ecuador has not forgotten about the border incident, “we want to build relationships into the future and with Santos we are open to progress.”
The defense minister also emphasized the importance of a secure border between the two countries, as there have been several recent encounters between Colombian military forces and the FARC in the border department of Putumayo.
For this reason, during his current trip to the United States, Ponce has requested additional funds from the U.S. to fight drug trafficking and development on the Ecuador-Colombia border. The U.S. gave Ecuador $15.6 million to finance Plan Ecuador.