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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ecuador President Stands by Move to Sue Colombia

Javno, April 5, 2008
Ecuador`s legal claim could take years to be resolved in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Ecuador's decision to sue Colombia over drug crop spraying along their border is a reply to Colombian aggression, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said in a Spanish newspaper interview published on Saturday.

Tension between the neighbours has been high since Colombian troops entered Ecuador in March and killed a senior guerrilla leader, prompting Ecuador and Venezuela to move troops to their borders with Colombia and briefly raising the threat of war.

"I'm not interested in maintaining a dispute with Bogota, but it's difficult to establish relations while these negative gestures keep coming from Colombia," Correa told El Pais.

Ecuador's legal claim could take years to be resolved in the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Bogota has rejected the charge.

"The claim before The Hague is a response to these attacks," he said. "We've tried to make them stop these fumigations but we've received arrogant and domineering answers."

Ecuador says the spraying hurts legitimate crops and the health of Ecuadorean farmers living along the border. It wants drug crops to be removed manually.

Correa also rejected claims that his government had links with the leftist Colombian guerrilla group FARC. Quito has accused Bogota of waging a smear campaign to link Correa to the rebels.

"Listen, if the world doesn't believe in our good faith, that we have nothing to do with FARC, at least let them believe in our intelligence. Who, in their right mind, would meddle in a civil war, what would be in it for us?"

"Please, the problem is Colombia's, and they don't know how to resolve it," Correa said.

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