Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa laid out topics of discussion that their nations need to jointly address, following the head of states’ first meeting since diplomatic relations were broken in March 2008.
The two governments agreed at the Rio Group regional summit in Mexico on Tuesday that a “Commission on Sensitive Subjects” must convene as soon as possible to address bones of contention between the two countries.
Furthermore, both countries declared that a three way meeting between the two governments and the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees needs to take place to resolve the situation of displaced Colombian citizens living across the Ecuadorean border.
The document also noted that Uribe recognizes the efforts of his Ecuadorean counterpart in the fight against illegal armed Colombian groups operating in and around the border between the two countries.
Finally, the two countries agreed that their military forces located along the border will meet to discuss solutions to combating the presence of illegal armed groups in the region. It was the presence of these groups that created diplomatic discord in the first place.
Ecuador broke off relations with Colombia following the Colombian incursion into Ecuadorean territory while pursuing guerrillas on March 1, 2008. FARC leader “Raul Reyes” and 26 others, including an Ecuadorean, were killed in the raid, which Ecuador viewed as undermining its sovereignty.
Colombia accused Correa’s government of links with the FARC due to evidence allegedly found on Raul Reyes’ computer.
Both countries accused the other of failing to police the border region, which was plagued by illegal armed groups with links to drug trafficking. Relations between two countries began to improve after talks in September last year.