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Ecuador Wants to “De – narcotize” the Relationship with the United Stated

By Dialogo
June 12, 2009

Washington, June 11 (EFE).- Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Fander Falconí stated today that Ecuador wants to strengthen the relationship with the United Status and cooperate not only in the fight against drug trafficking, but in other aspects as well, such as immigration. In a conference in Washington, the minister found it “necessary” to “de narcotize” the bilateral relations and embrace the opportunities offered by “a new international context” in Latin America and the United States to plan a new cooperation design. Falconí is currently visiting Washington, were he is scheduled to hold a meeting with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday, to lay the foundation for a new “positive renovation” with the United States.” The Head of Diplomacy said that “the door has been opened,” after the meeting of US President Barack Obama and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa at the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago, and subsequent meeting of Correa and Clinton. Ecuador has expressed its intention to maintain “a stable relationship of mutual benefit and cooperation with the United States,” he said, and added that the message he is to deliver to Clinton is to “move forward in a constructive way regarding the bilateral relations.” In a conference at “Diálogo Interamericano” where Falconí participated along with the Minister of Internal Security, Miguel Carvajal, he remarked that the battle against drug trafficking and the cooperation in the field of security are “extremely important" for both countries; however, he added, “these are not the only issues.” "We believe it is necessary to de -narcotize the bilateral relations and (...) to formulate a new and broader integration plan," Falconí said, referring to such issues as immigration and commerce. He also emphasized the importance of taking all aspects of human mobility into account and designing joint protocols in the international context. Speaking about trade, he referred to the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA), by which the United States compensate Andean countries for their commitment to the fight against drug trafficking and insisted that both countries could benefit from “a wider vision.” The Minister stated that the model proposed by Ecuador to the European Union based on a Treaty for Development Cooperation could also include the U.S. He explained that this proposal is based on “mutually beneficial relations, not on a conservative and traditional free trade agreement. It encourages political dialogue and cooperation in trade.” He stated he considered this “essential” to “help destroy the asymmetries” that exist in the country, and could help to “fight inequalities, strengthen commerce and provide possibilities for new participants to enter the marketplace.” Ecuador has always been an economy open to exports, and now there is an intention of diversifying its products and attracting more direct foreign investment "to promote sustainable development in accordance with the national policy of development,” he said. Falconí insists that this is the moment to establish new relationships “characterized by mutual respect and consideration.” He also highlighted the “bilateral possibilities offered by a different plan of cooperation in the new international geopolitical context which Latin America and the United States are experiencing." Carvajal in his turn added that Ecuador was willing to continue cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking, and tated that new programs were designed together with the United States that would be launched in the following 30 days.