Colombia’s President-elect Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday he was “pleased” that Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa will attend his inauguration on August 7, and hopes that Venezuela’s leader Hugo Chavez will follow suit.
Santos, who was speaking from London, said it would be “great news” if Chavez could attend the inauguration and that it would be a “step in the right direction” in terms of diplomatic relations.
Ecuador confirmed Monday that Correa would attend the ceremony.
“Of course President Correa will attend. We are in an open process of good relations under the premise that in the future we will be careful to respect the sovereignty of our respective countries,” said Ecuador’s Vice-President Lenin Moreno.
Regarding Correa’s comment Monday that Santos could be arrested in Ecuador due to a pending warrant for his arrest, the president-elect said, “It is a legal situation that I respect but do not agree with because it is unprecedented in the history of international law.”
An Ecuadorean court issued the warrant because of then-Defense Minister Santos’ involvement in the 2008 raid on FARC camp in Ecuadorean territory, which killed 26 people, including guerrilla leader “Raul Reyes.” The incident led Ecuador to break diplomatic relations with Colombia. The two nations are working to repair their fractured relationship.
Chavez’s has expressed willingness to open a dialogue with the incoming Colombian government. Caracas froze diplomatic ties with Bogota in 2009 after Colombia signed a military agreement which allows U.S. troops access to seven Colombian military bases.
Santos also said that his incoming Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin has plans to visit Ecuador and Venezuela in an effort to improve relations between the nations.
The Partido de la U leader confirmed his upcoming visits to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sakozy and Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.