QUITO -- President Rafael Correa on Monday administered the oath of office to Fander Falconi, Ecuador's new foreign minister, replacing Maria Isabel Salvador, who stepped down last week.
Falconi, an economist specializing in environmental matters, had been serving until Monday as the head of the Planning and Development Secretariat.
Correa emphasized the work that former Foreign Minister Salvador had done, saying that during her tenure in the post the country "advanced greatly," above all in the "area of trade," but he also said that it was a "very tough" year marked by a major diplomatic crisis with Colombia stemming from Bogota's March 1 military incursion into Ecuadorian territory.
The airstrike and raid on a clandestine rebel camp left more than two dozen dead, including the second-in-command of Colombia's FARC guerrillas.
"The bombardment and, generally, around March 1, 2008, brought us to the harsh reality of what international relations are and what the games of geopolitics are," said Correa, after recalling that that military operation led him to break off diplomatic relations with Bogota.
The president also swore in Rene Ramirez Gallegos, who will head the Planning and Development Secretariat in place of Falconi, who becomes the third person to serve as foreign minister since Correa took office in early 2007.
Salvador said last Friday that she resigned because she felt it was time to return to private life.
"Every human being has cycles in life and I believe that the cycle of my public service to my country has concluded," she said.
Salvador served first as tourism minister for 10 months and then as foreign minister for a year.