Colombian and Ecuadorean Defense Ministers To Review Border Security

By Dialogo
January 13, 2012

Colombian and Ecuadorean defense ministers Juan Carlos Pinzón and Javier Ponce, respectively, reviewed security along their shared border at a meeting held from January 12 to 13 in the Colombian town of Villa de Leyva, the ministry in Bogotá announced.

The Ecuadorean Minister of Security Coordination, Vice Admiral Homero Arellano Lascano; the General Luis Ernesto González, commander of the Ecuadorean Armed Forces; General Alejandro Navas, commander of the Colombian Armed Forces, and high-ranking police commanders from both countries also participated in the meeting.

This was the second face-to-face encounter between the ministers, following their participation in the presidential meeting held in the city of Quito, Ecuador, on December 19, a statement by the Colombian Defense Ministry recalled.

In addition to evaluating the work of the Bi-National Frontier Commission, the ministers discussed the current situation along the border crossings as well as the fight against illegal mining along the 586 km border the neighboring countries share, reported the Colombian Ministry of Defense

The ministerial meeting also took place subsequent to Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa’s acknowledgement on January 6 of his Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos’s will to improve bilateral ties, which were reestablished in November 2009 after having been broken off on account of a military attack on the FARC Colombian guerrilla group on Ecuadorean territory.

That incursion, which left 25 dead (including that rebel group’s second-ranking leader, Raúl Reyes), was authorized by Santos, who at the time was defense minister in Álvaro Uribe’s administration (2002-2010).

“We have to recognize a clear will (on Santos’s part) to completely normalize” ties, Correa told the press during a visit to the Andean city of Tulcán (in northern Ecuador), on the border with Colombia.

On December 24, Correa described the situation on the Colombian border as “the most serious security problem the country has” and indicated that it is a border “teeming with organized crime, drug trafficking, irregular groups, FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), and paramilitaries.”