Ecuador's Foreign Minister Gabriela Sommerfeld admitted that his country sold useless Russian-built weaponry to the United States in exchange for operational arms to wage the South American country's war against drug trafficking gangs. The measure was adopted despite Moscow's advice against it, it was explained.
”Precisely, one of the ways to cooperate is that the equipment that is not operational can be delivered (to the United States), in exchange for receiving equipment that is operational and that meets the current security needs of Ecuador, Sommerfeld said in a TV interview.
She also noted that Russian Ambassador Vladimir Sprinchan had been told that President Daniel Noboa's government had the right to engage in such a transaction because it does not violate any regulation and is not illegal. Earlier this month, Sprinchan had argued that the Americans do not need this equipment, even more so when it is called scrap metal. He also said Russia would interpret such a move as an unfriendly step.
Washington has already brought 20,000 bulletproof vests plus US$1 million worth of security equipment, including ambulances and vehicles for logistical support. In addition, a delegation from the United States arrived in Quito to discuss further cooperation.
The US mission is headed by Joseph Biden's Presidential Advisor for the Americas, Christopher Dodd, and also features Southern Command Chief General Laura Richardson as well as other officials. The trip was regarded as a powerful and concrete political signal” of support for the situation in Ecuador, said Sommerfeld, who insisted Ecuador had all the legal right to receive US and other countries' cooperation in security matters.
The visiting team was asked for greater access to the US market for Ecuadorean products and services, as well as the attraction of investments and financing, which would generate more employment.