Ecuador’s Correa to attend Colombian inauguration

QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa will attend the inauguration of Colombia’s incoming president Juan Manuel Santos, the state news agency said yesterday, in a sign of warming relations between the Andean neighbors.

Bogota’s ties with leftist nations in the region have been frayed over the last few years due in part to raids on Colombian guerrillas in Ecuador and the use of Colombia’s military bases by US forces combating drug runners.

Ecuador’s Andes state news agency quoted Correa as saying he would attend the August 7 inauguration of Santos, who is seen favoring a more conciliatory approach with neighbors than Colombia’s incumbent leader, Alvaro Uribe.

“We’ll gladly attend,” Correa was quoted as saying.

In 2008, Ecuador broke off diplomatic ties with Colombia after a Colombian bombing raid on a FARC guerrilla camp on the Ecuadorean side of the border. Relations were partially restored in November, but not to the level of ambassador.

Tensions flared in June when an Ecuadorean newspaper published accusations that Colombia had spied on Correa and other top officials. Correa threatened to break ties if the claims were true but has since softened his stance.

Last week, Colombia’s ties with Venezuela took a turn for the worse after Uribe’s government accused Caracas of tolerating the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela.

Venezuela denies that and accuses Uribe of provoking a diplomatic crisis in the days before he leaves office.

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