Ecuador says dispute with Colombia over

March 19th, 2008 - 5:45 pm ICT by admin  


Quito (Ecuador), March 19 (IANS) Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has said the crisis with Colombia has ended with the resolution by the Organisation of American States (OAS) criticising Bogota’s March 1 cross-border raid. The OAS accepted “all the principles and aspirations of the Ecuadorian side, which was the injured party”, Correa said at a ceremony in the presidential palace in the Ecuadorian capital, EFE news agency reported Wednesday.

Correa stressed his satisfaction that the OAS declared national sovereignty “inviolable” and rejected the Colombian incursion.

Colombian forces had launched a cross-border raid in Ecuador March 1, killing some 23 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, including the guerrilla group’s second-in-command Raul Reyes.

Tuesday, Foreign ministers representing the 34 OAS member-nations agreed in Washington on the text of a resolution criticizing Colombia’s cross-border attack while urging improved multilateral cooperation against security threats.

The US, which provides Bogota with some $500 million a year in military aid, expressed reservations about the criticism of the March 1 attack, citing Colombia’s right to defend itself. Leftist-led Venezuela, meanwhile, stood firm with Ecuador.

At the end of the meeting, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Maria Isabel Salvador considered the resolution “a clear victory” for her country, while Colombia expressed its satisfaction that it included the “main objective,” which was to establish observation mechanisms to make sure that the cooperation on security is effective.

The cross-border raid by Colombian forces sparked a huge regional conflict with Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua freezing diplomatic ties with Colombia. Both Ecuador and Venezuela had also started troops build-up near Colombian borders following the raid.

However, the warring parties resolved their differences a week later after Colombia pledged not to commit such strikes in future in the Rio Group summit hosted by Dominican Republic.

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