THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The New York TImes
June 06, 2008
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Colombia and Ecuador are restoring diplomatic ties at the charge d'affaires level following mediation by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Colombia's presidential spokesman said Friday.
Government officials in the Ecuadorean capital of Quito did not immediately confirm the announcement but promised an official statement shortly.
Ecuador pulled its ambassador in anger after a cross-border Colombian military raid March 1 on a leftist rebel camp in which a senior Colombian guerrilla and 24 other people were killed.
President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia ''ratifies the verbal promise'' he gave Carter and re-affirmed his readiness to restore full ties, spokesman Cesar Mauricio Velasquez said in a statement he read to the news media.
The curt announcement followed a statement issued by the Carter Center in Atlanta that said Uribe and President Rafael Correa of Ecuador had ''confirmed their willingness'' to restore ties ''immediately and without preconditions.''
The raid killed the foreign minister of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and triggered a crisis in which Ecuador and Venezuela announced the mobilization of troops to their borders with Colombia.
The Carter Center's director for the Americas, Jennifer McCoy, told the AP it had been working with both governments since the raid.
''We talked about renewing relations at the lower level would be a good first step and they agreed on that today,'' she said.
Prior to the March 1 raid, Colombia had complained that both Ecuador and Venezuela were sheltering the FARC.
Documents that Colombia says were found in laptops belonging to the slain FARC commander, Raul Reyes, indicate both Correa and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had close ties to the rebel group.
Over the weekend, Ecuador asked that Colombia turn over a full set of the documents to the Organization of American States.
But Colombia said it would only turn over documents pertinent to Ecuador.