Ecuador and Colombia begin dialogue

Latin America and the Caribbean

Yesterday, Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermúdez and Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Fander Falconí held their first official meeting since diplomatic ties between the two countries were cut in 2008 after a Colombian attack on a FARC camp in Ecuadorian territory. The meeting between the two counterparts took place in the New York offices of the Council of Americas and lasted four hours. Colombia and Ecuador have not had ambassadors in each other's capitals since March 2008, after a Colombian Army raid a mile inside Ecuadorian territory killed a top leader of Colombia's FARC guerrilla group. The meeting yesterday was the beginning of a long process of reopening diplomatic ties between Colombia and Ecuador. While both foreign ministers are in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, they will hold multiple meetings in order to "consolidate the process of dialogue." Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Falconí described the meeting as "frank, constructive, and open." Colombian Foreign Minister Bermúdez told the press that "we have had the opportunity to have a long, calm, frank, and sincere meeting with the foreign minister of Ecuador ... and we have initiated a process to explore mechanisms that will allow us to achieve a normalization of relations." Tuesday's meeting between the Colombian and Ecuadorian foreign ministers was intended to be a working meeting where both parties could put their demands on the table, develop mechanisms for future dialogue, and assess the diplomatic environment between the two delegations. In a press conference prior to the meeting, Colombian Foreign Minister Bermúdez said, "we have the will to advance in the way possible, but what we do not have is to generate false expectations. It is important that each country, that has its own considerations, puts them on the table and is able to advance. We will see."