The presidents of Colombia and Ecuador announced Friday they will resume full diplomatic relations after more than two years of estrangement.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa made the announcement at the Unasur (Union of South American Nations) summit in Georgetown, Guyana. Ecuador and Colombia will name ambassadors before December 24, Correa told reporters.
“We have taken the decision to fully re-establish diplomatic relations between Ecuador and Colombia, and to that end we will name ambassadors who will be posted, with all certainty, before Christmas,” Santos said in a joint statement with Correa.
The two leaders talked to reporters after the summit.
Ecuador broke off diplomatic ties in March 2008 after Colombia bombed a camp of the FARC guerrilla group on Ecuadorian territory.
Killed in the bombing raid were 26 people including the No. 2 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, Raul Reyes. It was a decisive blow against the FARC group and the attack was ordered by then Defence minister Juan Manuel Santos.
“We have decided to normalize diplomatic relations,” Correa told the press.
Also present at the announcement were Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño and Colombian counterpart Maria Angela Holguin.
The ministers have been negotiating the renewal of full diplomatic ties for several months and took a key step recently with Holguin’s visit to Quito, during which Colombia handed over to Ecuador all the information it had requested.
The openness and transparency of Santos is worth pointing out said Correa in a statement posted on his government's website about the agreement. It is the best present that we can give our people, he said.
On November 18, 2010, in a meeting in Quito, Ecuadorian officials laid out their requirements for the rapprochement, according to Correa's website. Among them was the agreement by Colombia to hand over information -- including computer discs -- recovered in the raid.
According to Santos' website, Correa said that Colombian officials had given to Ecuador the discs from the computers that supposedly belonged to Mr. Reyes. He added, They have given something very important, information about how the operation in Angostura was executed.
Santos said the reestablishment of relations ”is going to permit us to be much more efficient in everything that we want, which is the well-being of our peoples”.