QUITO – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Wednesday reiterated his thanks to his Ecuadorian counterpart and host, Rafael Correa, for the latter’s support of Bogota’s peace process with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas.
“Many thanks for all the support that you have been giving us, support in the peace process. Your generosity, your vision, your commitment to peace in the region and peace in Colombia is something that we will never forget,” said Santos upon his arrival in the city of Guayaquil to meet with his Ecuadorian colleague.
Correa said that it was “an honor” to welcome the Nobel Peace Prize winner, a recognition – he said – that was “well deserved for being the author of peace in your beloved Colombia and in the region.”
“You know you can count on us,” said Correa, adding that “Ecuador is the facilitator and guarantor of this negotiation process. I hope it has resounding success and seals a comprehensive peace in our beloved Colombia.”
He said that “every war that ends is good news for all of humanity.”
On Feb. 7, the Colombian government and the ELN in Quito began an historic dialogue with an eye toward ending the confrontation they have pursued for more than 52 years, after the peace accord signed on Nov. 24 with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Santos – who came to Guayaquil for the 5th presidential meeting between Ecuador and Colombia – said that relations between the two countries and their leaders “are at their best moment.”
“When there are good relations between two countries, two governments, two presidents, it’s the (two) peoples who benefit. When there are no relations, when there are conflicts, it’s the peoples who are harmed,” he said.
Santos added that the economic and social indicators of the two nations in recent years “have advanced in a very significant way and what we’ve come here to do is consolidate and strengthen the basis for being able to continue making progress,” adding that Colombia’s relations with Ecuador are one of his administration’s “most important priorities in international politics.”
Correa took advantage of Santos’ visit to once again express his thanks to Colombia for the help it provided in dealing with the effects of last April’s magnitude-7.8 earthquake, which rocked the country’s northern coast, killing more than 670 people and causing millions of dollars in material damage.