Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa will meet with incoming Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota over the weekend to officially resume dialogue on repairing relations between the two nations.
Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño confirmed the two leaders will hold “a brief bilateral dialogue” after Santos is inaugurated as president on Saturday August 7, and another “more extensive” conversation on Sunday.
“I think that with the change of government we will improve relations,” Correa said, adding that Colombia had requested the meeting.
Patiño also announced that he will meet with his new Colombian counterpart Maria Angela Holguin on Sunday in Bogota.
The repairing of ties will be achieved “without forgetting the past,” Correa said, referring to the Colombia army’s 2008 raid on a FARC camp in Ecuadorean territory, which led Ecuador to break ties with Colombia because it considered the attack an incursion on its sovereignty.
Efforts to restore relations began in 2009 and trade ties have been strengthened, but both countries are yet to name their respective ambassadors to completely formalize relations.
Matters were complicated by a case an Ecuadorean court brought against Santos for his alleged intellectual authorship of the 2008 raid as defense minister at the time of the attack. However when Santos assumes the presidency he will have diplomatic immunity, and Ecuador’s bid to extradite him will no longer stand.
Ecuador has refused to fully restore ties until Colombia hands over evidence it allegedly found on the computers of FARC leader “Raul Reyes,” who was killed in the 2008 raid.
Colombia claimed that data found on the computer links Ecuadorean officials with the FARC. However on Thursday a Colombian police investigator admitted to manipulating evidence in Reyes’ files, which may jeopardise the political will to restore ties.