Humala, Correa promise to strengthen Peru-Ecuador relations

Ollanta Humala (left) meets with Ecuador President Rafael Correa. Source: Andina.

President-elect Ollanta Humala met with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on Tuesday and promised to continue solidifying relations between the two Andean countries, state news agency Andina reported.

“I think the bilateral relations are on the right path, but it is not enough,” said Humala, who will assume office on July 28. “We have to improve it. There is a lot to do.”

Humala said during a joint press conference with Correa that the leaders discussed how to resolve common problems like inequality and economic growth.

“Today, we have to unite to fight against drug trafficking, poverty, illiteracy, the fight for citizen safety,” he said.

“We had an open agenda and I’m leaving satisfied with this visit and that won’t be the last. We have established a direct channel for president-to-president talks,” Humala said.

During the meeting, Correa also brought up the Peru-Ecuador maritime border to confirm that Humala does not see any outstanding claims.

In May, Peru’s Congress approved a resolution that ratifies the country’s northern maritime border with Ecuador.

The accord confirms the maritime border as parallel to the equator cutting west across the Pacific. It also establishes that two agreements – signed in 1952 and 1954 – were fishing treaties and not related to the maritime border.

The approval came as Peru disputes its southern maritime border with Chile at The International Court of Justice in The Hague.

That dispute dates back to the 1879 – 1883 War of the Pacific, in which Peru and Bolivia lost substantial territory to Chile. Central to the row is 38,000 square kilometers, or about 14,500 square miles, of fishing-rich sea which Chile currently controls.

Chile says the current border, which also runs parallel to the equator, was established under two agreements from the 1950s. However, Peru claims those agreements were fishing treaties and the maritime zone has never been settled.

Peru’s proposed border follows the countries south-western sloping border into the ocean.

“As always has been expressed since the beginning of the [legal] conflict with Chile, that there is no conflict with Ecuador, that the [maritime] borders are clearly established. That is what has been ratified and we talked with Ollanta Humala about that,” said Correa.

Humala is in Colombia today, where he will meet with authorities. He recently completed a trip to Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

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