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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ecuador wants bilateral negotiations with EU

QUITO, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador on Wednesday indicated its interest in holding bilateral negotiations with the European Union in a bid to boost ties.

Ecuador is a member of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), along with Colombia and Peru who earlier requested negotiations with the EU on their own, instead of in a "bloc to bloc" manner.

The Ecuadorian government said in a statement that Bogota and Lima's decisions "diminish the strengthening" of the CAN.

Ecuador said it is interested in developing relations with European countries within the framework of an agreement, which should regulate political dialogue and cooperation and establish equitable commercial relations.

The agreement with the EU must respect "the sensitiveness and developing policies of Ecuador," the statement said.

Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Isabel Salvador told a press conference that Ecuador was defending its legitimate interests in seeking a bilateral agreement with the EU.

She said Ecuador will seek to maintain a bloc-to-bloc relation on political and cooperation issues with the EU, but on commercial issues Ecuador will push for bilateral negotiations for "an equitable agreement."

While warning that the CAN is encountering a moment of crisis, Salvador said the bloc's problems should be resolved through negotiations.

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