July 05, 2008
BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe pledged closer ties with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez on Saturday after months of on-and-off tensions, but Ecuador's leftist president said problems remain and he isn't ready to re-establish relations with Colombia.
Uribe said Colombia is accepting a proposal by Chavez to jointly build railroad lines between
"President Chavez has proposed it and we accept it," Uribe said during a televised town hall meeting. "We want to give a very big push to the entire agenda between our two countries."
It will be their first one-on-one talks since the Colombian military's March 1 cross-border strike i
Venezuela's leftist leader and the U.S.-allied Uribe later deescalated tensions. But Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said Saturday that Uribe's attitude toward Ecuador hasn't changed to warrant restoring ties.
"We have a lot of pressure to re-establish relations with Colombia. I don't understand what they're talking about," Correa said in Ecuador during his weekly radio address.
Correa welcomed Colombia's rescue this week of 15 rebel-held hostages, including former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and three Americans. But he was cool to Betancourt's suggestion that Ecuador and Venezuela restore friendly ties with Uribe.
"Very good for Ingrid Betancourt, but what does that have to do with relations with Colombia? Does that erase the March 1 bombing?" Correa said.