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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Correa Says Colombia's Uribe Won't Attend Summit in Protest

By Stephan Kueffner

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia won't attend a summit of four Andean countries this month to protest comments Correa made in an interview.

The decision shows Colombia doesn't want to re-establish diplomatic ties that were severed in March, Correa said in his regular Saturday address.

``President Uribe, if you don't want to come, don't, we won't miss you,'' he said. ``Fix your guerrilla and drug trafficking problems alone because you're the one who has these problems.'' Correa currently holds the presidency of the Andean Community, which includes Bolivia and Peru along with Colombia and Ecuador.

Correa cut top-level diplomatic ties with Colombia after a March 1 raid in which Colombian planes and troops leveled a rebel base just inside Ecuador without permission. In a Sept. 29 meeting with foreign journalists, Correa said that the relationship was gradually improving after Colombia toned down comments in recent weeks.

Correa in an interview published Oct. 2 in Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo was quoted as saying that the conflict would ``never be resolved.'' In his address today, he said that he had been misquoted.

If Uribe was interested in resolving the dispute, he would have sought to clarify the comment rather than canceling his participation in the Oct. 14 summit, Correa said.

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