Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño said Sunday that the latest FARC attack in Colombia’s Putumayo department was not launched from Ecuador.
Patiño stressed that the attack, in which at least six Colombian policemen were killed, “has nothing to do with us.” The foreign minister’s statement was in reaction to concerns of the Colombian government that FARC rebels may have crossed into Colombia from Ecuador to launch the offensive and then fled back to hide in the neighboring country.
The Colombian government has since confirmed that the guerrillas launched the attack internally, which Patiño was keen to emphasise.
Patiño also said that following the attack, the two neighbor countries had agreed to reactivate their bilateral cooperation on border security through the Bi-national Border Commission (Combifron).
The foreign minister also said that there is no scheduled meeting between himself and his Colombian counterpart Maria Angela Holguin, when a Colombian delegation travels to Quito Thursday to discuss the situation of Colombian refugees displaced by Colombia’s internal conflict into Ecuador.
Patiño said that the two governments did plan to organize more meetings in September and October in order to move forward in normalizing their diplomatic relations.
Ecuador broke ties with Colombia in March 2008, after the Colombian army carried out a raid on a FARC camp on Ecuadorean soil. Ecuador viewed the raid – in which FARC leader “Raul Reyes” was killed and his computers retrieved by Colombia – as undermining its sovereignty.
The two nations have been working at restoring relations since late 2009 but Ecuador had refused to fully repair ties until Colombia handed over Reyes’ files, which, it claimed contained evidence of collusion between the Ecuadorean government and the FARC.
The refusal by the administration of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to provide the files became a sticking point in terms of restoring relations. However Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos handed over the controversial information on the day of his inauguration, August 7.
Santos said Saturday he would “redouble” the military’s offensive against leftist guerrillas, following the spate of attacks by left wing guerrillas since he took office, in which more than 40 members of the Colombian armed forces have been killed.