The Presidents of Colombia (Iván Duque) and Ecuador (Guillermo Lasso), Sunday agreed to reopen the borders between the two countries as of Dec. 1 after they were closed in March 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Both leaders reached that decision after a meeting in Quito. We have agreed that the next December 1 will be given to the reopening of our borders. An orderly, structured, well-focused reopening, to continue maintaining between the two countries all the epidemiological controls that guarantee the safety of our citizens.
This is not only the result that both countries have advanced in the control of the pandemic, in the control of Covid, but also that we provide a solution to a security problem, through legal paths that unite Ecuador and Colombia, Lasso said.
Both leaders pointed out that as per the new agreement vehicles would not need to unload and reload at border crossings.
The two heads of state also agreed to the repatriation to Colombia of some 170 nationals of that country currently detained in Ecuadorian prisons, where constant riots this year have cost over 300 lives. The decision comes after the death of about 190 inmates on Sept. 29 and Nov. 12 at Guayaquil's main detention facility and in which three Colombians citizens have died, according to Bogotá.
Duque also explained this agreement would be extended over time, through a protocol that will be continuous and regular and which, in Lasso's view will help reduce overcrowding in detention centres across Ecuador.
At least 2,127 Colombians detained in Ecuador are eligible for the new scheme after either having served half their sentences or for humanitarian reasons.
I want to congratulate your heroism President, congratulate your commitment to legality and order, also congratulate that commitment that has been clear from the first day that you assumed the reins of this nation to make security a public good and a democratic value, Duque told Lasso.
Thank you for this support decided by you, your government, the Colombian people to Ecuador at a time when we are going through a security crisis, the latter replied.
Both leaders also pledged to meet again early next year in Ecuador with their colleagues from Costa Rica and Panama to sign the agreement they agreed to during the last meeting of COP26, about the expansion of a maritime corridor for environmental protection that will stretch from the Galapagos Islands to the island of Los Cocos.