The Colombian and Ecuadorean military are still cooperating in the fight against the FARC despite the diplomatic crisis between Bogota and Quito, Colombian military commander Freddy Padilla de Leon said Wednesday.
The armed forces of Colombia and Ecuador are still communicating and working together “on different levels” despite the freezing of all diplomatic ties after Colombia bombed a FARC camp on Ecuadorean territory without warning the Ecuadorean authorities in March 2008, the army commander told Ecuadorean newspaper Hoy.
The Ecuadorean and Colombian military have a valid policy that clearly states how to handle relations between the two armed forces against any kind of event, Padilla said. However, he admitted that “the speed and quality of information” as exchanged before does not exist anymore since Combifron [a bi-national border commission] was shut down after the diplomatic crisis.
Combifron allowed regular meetings between the commanders of both countries and the quick and secure exchange of information to fight crime. “In Colombia we are ready to activate Combifron again as soon as the Ecuadorean government is determined to,” the commander said.
In the meantime, the Ecuadorean and Colombian commander are simply phoning each other if they need to talk. “We maintain an open channel,” Padilla stated.
Colombia for example increased its military presence at the border “as much as possible” after Ecuadorean army requested more troops. “Last year we sent 2000 soldiers more to the area,” Padilla said.
“We control the border mainly through mobile operations which are a potential factor of the mission’s success. The troops can be present on one site and move to another very quickly,” the commander explained.
“The Ecuadorean people must feel that the [military] presence at the border is beneficial,” Padilla said. No FARC guerrilla will pass the Colombian troops and enter Ecuador. According to the commander, the risk of rebels moving their operations to Ecuadorean territory due to increased pressure inside Colombia is a “mathematical possibility.”
Source: Colombia Reports