QUITO -- The Iranian government will loan more than $200 million to Ecuador and will study several investment projects in the South American country, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa announced Saturday without specifying what the money will be used for.
In his customary Saturday radio and television program, Correa recalled that last Monday he met in Quito with an Iranian delegation to analyze the progress of the bilateral accords established in recent months.
"Collaboration with Iran has started to bear fruit" and soon representatives of construction companies from that Asian country will arrive to "study the projects in which they want to invest," the president said.
"A loan of more than $200 million from Iran to Ecuador is practically certain," he said, mentioning that with Tehran "there is not only financing for trade" but also "cooperation for development."
"There is a new outlook" that includes technology transfer and "many other things," he said.
Iran is one of the new markets opened by Ecuador during the government of the leftist Rafael Correa, who has set out to strengthen ties with countries like China and Russia along with Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia, all ideological allies of the president, according to a number of experts on international affairs.
The president, who has signed several pacts with China, acknowledged that the "relationship is being favored" because the country has "shown interest" in cooperating with Ecuador.
Nonetheless, he said that in a recent evaluation of the situation with Chinese diplomats here it was evident that the accords that were signed have not advanced as planned.
That delay is "part our fault and part China's, which has very slow bureaucratic procedures and processes for taking decisions," Correa said, stressing the renewed bilateral commitment to making quick progress in turning agreements into action.