Juan Manuel Santos, who emerged from weekend voting as the front-runner in next month’s presidential runoff election, said Monday he hopes to restore good relations with Venezuela and Ecuador if he wins.
Santos, who served as defense minister under President Alvaro Uribe before making his first run for elected office, said he would seek “in every possible way” to repair ties with the leftist leaders of the two neighboring nations.
“I hope that if I win I can have good relations with the president of Venezuela, with the president of Ecuador,” Santos told The Associated Press at his campaign headquarters.
Colombia’s relations with Ecuador were tattered in March 2008 after the Colombian military attacked a camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in Ecuador’s territory, close to the border.
Venezuela’s leader, Hugo Chavez, was angered when Uribe’s government signed an accord with Washington last year allowing the U.S. military greater access to bases in Colombia. Uribe, meanwhile, accuses Venezuela of aiding the FARC guerrillas. (AP)