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Correa warns Colombia over incursion

Latest update : 2008-03-23

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa warned that diplomatic tension with Colombia could worsen if an Ecuadorean was found a victim in a Colombian attack on a rebel camp inside its territory earlier this month.

QUITO, March 20 (Reuters) - Ecuador's President Rafael
Correa warned on Saturday that diplomatic tension with Colombia
will rise if an Ecuadorean was among the dead in a bombing raid
on a rebel camp inside its territory this month.

Correa broke off diplomatic ties with Bogota after the
March 1 Colombian attack on a guerrilla camp in Ecuador that
killed more than 20 people, including a top rebel commander.

The conflict briefly awoke fears of war in the Andean
region when Ecuador and Venezuela ordered troops to their
borders with Colombia, but tempers cooled at a regional summit
that led to a handshake between the three countries' leaders.

Despite an apology from Colombia, Correa has not reopened
formal relations and said on Saturday he would look for ways to
further punish his neighbor if it became clear an Ecuadorean
was killed in the raid.

"It would be extremely grave if it is proven that a
Ecuadorean died," the left-wing president said on a radio
program. "We will not let this murder go unpunished."

He did not specify what type of action he might take.

Colombian planes bombed the camp belonging to the
Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia just inside Ecuadorean
territory on March 1, killing over 20 people including the
rebel's second in command, Raul Reyes.

Most Latin American countries joined Ecuador in condemning
the attack.

Correa ordered an investigation after family members
claimed one of the bodies belongs to an Ecuadorean locksmith
called Franklin Aizalia.

Colombia's civil war often spills over into neighboring
countries. Ecuador and Colombia share about 400 miles (644 km)
border that is difficult to police.

Date created : 2008-03-23