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Ecuador - Foreign Relations

Ecuador always has placed great emphasis on multilateral approaches to international problems. Ecuador is a member of the United Nations (and most of its specialized agencies), the Organization of American States, and many regional groups, including the Rio Group, the Latin American Energy Organization, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and the Community of Andean Nations. From August 2009 to November 2010, Ecuador held the rotational presidency of UNASUR.

Under the Correa administration, Ecuador has increased its efforts to strengthen and diversify its political and economic ties with countries in Latin American, Europe, and Asia. In Latin America, President Correa has traveled to Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay, Haiti, and Cuba, for example, where his government has signed agreements to promote economic cooperation. Similarly, outside the region, Correa visited Spain, Italy, France, China, Iran, and Russia, among other countries.

The provisions of the 1998 Constitution on issues concerning foreign policy were scarce. In the 1998 Constitution international relations appeared framed within a perspective of regulation. The Constitution 2008, draws on a social approach and an integrationist spirit, and recovered for the State basic dimensions of sovereignty in the national interest. The new constitution innovated by establishing the principle of universal citizenship, momentum a new system of fair trade, the commitment to integration Latin America, the free movement of citizens, equity and justice in international relations.

The new 2008 Constitution states that "Ecuador is a territory of peace. It is not permitted to set up foreign military bases or facilities for military purposes." (Art.5). Internal development requires exercising a sovereign foreign policy an international, commercial and action oriented integration coexistent with peaceful construction and an international community based on equity. To support the harmonious development of the country, which promotes multilateralism and negotiated agreements to contribute to the equality among States. The Constitution directs the State to link the country to the economic processes in international-economic conditions of justice and equity, both at the commercial level and in other areas of the world economy.

The new 2008 Constitution states that the State has the duty to ensure and defend the sovereignty of Ecuador, whose concept in this draft Constitution goes beyond the sovereignty and territorial boundary. Article 4 concerns the Ecuador's right to exercise rights on the synchronous geostationary orbit, maritime areas and Antarctica. "The state contracts with natural or legal persons carry implied waiver of these all claims except diplomatic contracts that give diplomatic service". (art.307) "The State may not conclude international treaties in which the Ecuadorian government cedes sovereign jurisdiction at the behest of international arbitration, in contractual disputes or nature Trade between the state and individuals or private law".(art. 422)

In October 1998, Ecuador and Peru reached a peace agreement to settle their border differences, which had festered since the signing of the 1942 Rio Protocol. This long-running border dispute occasionally erupted into armed hostility along the undemarcated sections, with the last conflict occurring in 1995. The U.S. Government, as one of the four guarantor nations (the others were Argentina, Brazil and Chile), played an important role in bringing the conflict to an end. The peace agreement brokered by the four guarantors in February 1995 led to the cessation of hostilities and a Military Observers Mission to Ecuador-Peru (MOMEP), which monitored the zone. In addition to helping broker the peace accord, the US has been active in demining the former area of conflict and supporting welfare and economic projects in the border area.

According to the agreement of Neighborhood Relations of the National Chancellery, the relationship between Ecuador and Peru is reflected in the significant results obtained from the strategies established in the National Development Plan for the Border Region. The main lines of binational action are related to the improvement of social infrastructure and promotion of private investment. So far, they have invested about seven billion dollars in development projects in the area of the border, especially in areas such as social security, health, electrification, implementation of a permanent immigration status and the promotion of small and medium enterprises. Also highlight other projects such as demining Tiwintza; the control of illegal mining in the area of border integration and the reactivation of the joint committee on drug control. The 9th. regular meeting of the Binational Border Commission Ecuador-Peru took place in September 2016 in Quito.

The ongoing conflict in Colombia and security along the 450-mile-long northern border are important issues in Ecuador's foreign relations with Colombia. The instability of border areas and frequent encroachments of Colombian guerillas into Ecuadorian territory has led the Ecuadorian army to deploy more troops to the region. Although Ecuadorian officials have stated that Colombian guerrilla activity will not be tolerated on the Ecuadorian side of the border, guerrilla bands have been known to intimidate the local population, demanding extortion payments and practicing vigilante justice. The Correa administration is pursuing a policy known as Plan Ecuador to develop the northern border region and protect citizens from the drug threat.

A Colombian military incursion into Ecuador in March 2008 caused the Government of Ecuador to break diplomatic relations for several years. Although the Correa administration's reaction to the news of the Colombian military's operation against the FARC in Ecuadorian territory was initially cautious, the Government's position increasingly hardened after learning that the operation was not a "hot pursuit" scenario but planned in advance with the FARC bombed and attacked while sleeping, in direct contrast with what President Uribe reportedly told President Correa via telephone on March 1. The GOE and Ecuadorian press characterized the incident a clear violation of international law and norms, and Correa has broken off diplomatic relations with Colombia. The GOE vehemently denied that they maintained any inappropriate contacts with the FARC. In November 2010, Ecuador and Colombia fully re-established diplomatic relations.

Critics charge that it took six years for the government of Rafael Correa to destroy the Ecuadorian Foreign Service. It was about, basically, six years in which Ricardo Patio was head of the Foreign Ministry. During that time, ranging from 20 January 2010 until the 3 March 2016, the Foreign Ministry has undergone transformation and institutional distortion more traumatic since 1941, when there was the conflict with Peru and Ecuador's foreign service. According to January data 2016, the Foreign Ministry had 2132 people. This figure should be compared with the 687 officials in the 2005.

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