QUITO – Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Colombia’s Alvaro Uribe will hold a bilateral meeting during next week’s Rio Group summit in Cancun, Mexico, Ecuador’s foreign minister said Friday.
Ricardo Patiño told a press conference at the presidential palace that Correa will also take advantage of the occasion to meet with Chile’s president-elect, Sebastian Piñera.
The foreign minister considers that diplomatic relations between Quito and Bogota “are normalized,” though still being conducted at a sub-ambassadorial level.
Correa and Uribe met last week in Quito during an extraordinary session of the Union of South American Nations to coordinate aid for earthquake-stricken Haiti, but they had no bilateral meeting.
This will be Uribe’s first visit to Ecuador since Correa broke off diplomatic relations with Bogota after Colombia’s March 2008 attack on a Colombian rebel camp inside Ecuadorian territory.
In that operation at least 26 people died, including the second-in-command of Colombia’s FARC rebels, Raul Reyes.
After months of tension, the process of normalizing diplomatic ties began in September 2009 in New York with the drawing up of a “road map.”
In November, both governments designated their respective charges d’affaires in each other’s capital.
Patiño said Friday that there are still “sensitive subjects” between Quito and Bogota having to do with the 2008 incursion, since Ecuador is still waiting to see information from “Reyes’ famous computers,” he said, alluding to laptops that Colombia claimed held data pointing to ties between the FARC and the Ecuadorian government.
Those allegations were angrily rejected by Correa, who derisively referred to the computers as the “magic laptops.”
Patiño said that the meeting between Correa and Uribe could take place next Monday afternoon. EFE