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Cablegate: Ecuador: Goe Officials Urge Cooperation While

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DE RUEHQT #0264/01 0742102
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 142102Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8631
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7444
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 3870
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2951
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR LIMA 2487
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 1771
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3407
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

id: 145990
date: 3/14/2008 21:02
refid: 08QUITO264
origin: Embassy Quito
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 08QUITO263
header:
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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #0264/01 0742102
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 142102Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8631
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7444
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 3870
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2951
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ MAR LIMA 2487
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 1771
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3407
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL


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C O N F I D E N T I A L QUITO 000264

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/14/2018
TAGS: PREL MOPS PTER PGOV EC CO SP
SUBJECT: ECUADOR: GOE OFFICIALS URGE COOPERATION WHILE
CORREA INCREASES RHETORIC

REF: A. QUITO 263

B. QUITO 251
C. QUITO 248

Classified By: DCM Jefferson Brown for Reasons 1.4 (b&d)

1. (C) Summary. In a series of meetings and phone calls,
MFA and MOD officials have sought to maintain positive
bilateral relations with the U.S. as well as to communicate
GOE efforts against the FARC (see also reftels). The GOE
also launched a media campaign to deny and counter continued
accusations of GOE ties to the FARC. Military cooperation at
the local level and joint exercise planning continues despite
Ecuadorian-Colombian tensions. Meanwhile, President Correa
responded to accusations of FARC ties with aggressive
rhetoric directed at Colombia, the U.S. and Spain. (End
Summary)

MFA Conversations with Embassy and Anti-FARC Press Statement

2. (C) The Ambassador called the Foreign Minister on March
14 to discuss the upcoming OAS ministerial. FM Salvador was
participating in a lengthy cabinet meeting and therefore not
available, so Vice Foreign Minister Jose Valencia took the
call. The Ambassador highlighted the fact that the USG had
not mentioned Ecuador in public statements over the past two
days, since Department Spokesman McCormack,s statement of
March 11, as an indication of our efforts to lower the tone
publicly and focus on constructive approaches to the way
ahead. She noted that it would be helpful for the GOE to
take the same approach in terms of public rhetoric. Valencia
agreed. He lamented President Correa's recent rhetoric,
which he acknowledged was unhelpful. He said the GOE
recognizes that it would not be practical to have a
multinational peacekeeping body along the Colombian border.
He thought the OAS should instead establish some type of
observer mission along the border. Valencia expressed the
GOE's hope that the OAS observer mission would recognize what
was really happening along Ecuador's northern border and how
hard the GOE was trying in the fight against the FARC, noting
that the GOE had issued a press bulletin condemning the FARC.

3. (C) Under Secretary of Bilateral Affairs Diego Stacey
called the DCM earlier on March 14 to highlight that fact
that the GOE had issued stronger statements against the FARC.
He also voiced regret over President Correa's recent
rhetoric, explaining that it responded to pressure from
domestic leftist groups.

4. (U) The press bulletin issued by the MFA on March 13
states that "the members of irregular Colombian groups such
as the FARC, the paramilitaries, or criminal organizations
dedicated to narco-trafficking cannot be allowed to operate
within Ecuador, as they violate national law, and Ecuador
recognizes the Colombian government as the only, legitimate
political representative of Colombia." It also states that
"all individuals or groups of individuals that are found
illegally in Ecuadorian territory will be detained and at the
disposition of Ecuadorian judicial authority, or repelled by
force if they resist."

Correa Increases Rhetoric

5. (SBU) On March 13, President Correa spoke to a gathering
of several hundred demonstrating students in support of
Correa's foreign policy, some carrying banners and shouting
anti-Colombia and anti-U.S. slogans such as "yanquis fuera"
(Yankees go home). Reacting to comments by the USG from
prior to March 12, as well as to an article appearing in the
Spanish newspaper El Pais that accused the GOE of ties to the
FARC, Correa decried what he considered unfounded charges and
insinuations. He said that Ecuador was an unwilling victim
of Colombia,s problem, and he facetiously challenged both
the U.S. and Spain to send troops to patrol Colombia's
southern border if Colombia is not up to the job itself. On
the evening of March 13, Correa repeated similar comments.
He accused the USG and Colombia of a media campaign in its
accusations of GOE ties to the FARC.

6. (SBU) The GOE has launched a campaign to refute the
accusations of FARC association. Defense Minister Wellington
Sandoval and Secretary of Public Administration Vinicio

Alvarado held a press conference on March 13 to deny any GOE
association with the FARC and explain the GOE's efforts
against the FARC. The MFA released the above referenced
press bulletin the same day.

Military to Military Relations Continue

7. (C) Despite the exchange of barbs, Ecuador, Colombia and
the U.S. continue to pursue the planning of "TRIDENT", a
Coast Guard-sponsored trilateral maritime exercise to combat
the littoral flow of drugs, a result of the November 2007
trilateral maritime counter drug conference in Guayaquil,
Ecuador. On March 10, JIATF-South hosted Quito country team
members and Ecuadorian representative and Colombian Navy reps
for the second planning session for the exercise, where all
behaved cordially and professionally. The planning group is
expecting an answer by March 25 from the GOE and GOC on
whether the exercise will be conducted as planned on May
1-30. Separately, USG reps who met with local battalion
commanders on both sides of the Colombian border were told
that bilateral information sharing has continued as usual.
Minister Sandoval also publicly said that the GOE planned to
reconstitute the Binational Border Commission (COMBIFRON), a
binational military-to-military coordination mechanism, while
noting that rebuilding trust would be a long-term process.
Jewell

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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