Colombia Asks Ecuador For Joint Planning To Fight Rebels

By Dialogo
October 09, 2009

Colombia will ask neighboring Ecuador to join it in planning military operations against Marxist FARC rebels, Defense Minister Gabriel Silva. The development comes amid moves by both countries to mend relations that were ruptured in March 2008 after Colombian troops raided a rebel camp inside Ecuador, killing more than 20 people, including FARC leader Raul Reyes. Silva told Caracol Radio he planned to provide Ecuadoran Defense Minister Javier Ponce with "specific hard data" gathered by Colombian intelligence on two FARC camps inside Ecuadoran territory. "We are going to propose joint planning, not joint operations, but definitely joint planning, so we can give them some suggestions on how to do that (conduct anti-FARC operations) effectively," Silva said. He told Caracol Radio he would meet with Ponce as early as next week to present the proposal. "Ecuador has clearly expressed its will to prevent the presence of armed irregular Colombian groups in its territory," Silva said. "We believe in that will and for that reason we are going to provide information so they can act." The foreign ministers of Colombia and Ecuador are scheduled to meet Friday on their common border, as part of the effort to normalize relations ruptured by last year's cross-border raid. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Latin America's oldest and largest insurgency, has been battling the government in Bogota for 45 years.