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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Correa: 'We have taken steps to rebuild trust with Colombia'

Colombia Reports, September 28, 2009

rafael correa, colombia news

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said that the first steps towards rebuilding trust with Colombia had been taken, but stressed that the relationship would always be blemished.

In an interview broadcast on Ecuador's public radio, President Correa compared trust with a crystal glass: "if it breaks, it can be repaired with the greatest talent in the world, but it will always be marked."

He said that the steps taken by both countries' foreign ministers sought to "guarantee that what happened in March 2008 [would not recur]." He was referring to Colombia's intrusion in Ecuadorian territory to attack a FARC base near the border, an operation in which, among other things, resulted in the death of an Ecuadorian civilian. After the attack Ecuador broke off diplomatic ties with Colombia.

Regarding last week's meeting between both nations' foreign ministers in at the United Nations in New York, Correa said that "Colombia, once again, confirms that it will never again unilaterally attack Ecuador, and undertakes to strengthen security along the southern border. ... Commitments are being made to recover lost confidence."

Correa noted that Ecuador has spent "enormous" amounts of resources to strengthen border security, while its Defence Minister, Javier Ponce, estimated annual operating costs to be at US$170 million, reported newspaper El Tiempo.

However, Ecuador's President clarified: "Personally, I think like any human being if you are stabbed in the back, you will never fully recover confidence. You will always be watching your back."

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