MOSCOW – Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on Tuesday made a definite push for cooperation with Russia in energy matters and in other strategic sectors.
“Very important things have been settled” for Ecuador, Correa said of his second visit to Russia in four years.
Correa and Russian leader Vladimir Putin presided at the signing of several energy and transportation accords, along with several letters of intent.
Among the firm agreements is one for a $230 million loan from three Russian banks to finance the construction of a gas turbogenerator for the Termogas Machala thermo-electric center.
A pair of possible projects “would allow the rice harvest to move from one per year to 2.5 annually, something that’s key for bringing our rural sector out of poverty,” Correa said.
In addition, a protocol of intent was signed with Russia’s state railway consortium regarding the creation of a rail network linking Quito with Ecuador’s four main seaports.
“The size of the project cannot be specifically determined because the feasibility studies are still being made,” Correa said.
The president expressed optimism about the possibility that Russian energy giant Gazprom will finally decide to exploit natural gas in the Gulf of Guayaquil.
He also emphasized the growing bilateral trade with Russia, which is the third-biggest customer for Ecuador’s non-petroleum exports.
“We come into Russia with bananas, roses and trucks, and soon we’ll do it with satellites,” Correa quipped before emphasizing the need to receive “technology transfer” from Russia so that Ecuador can “sell products with greater value added.”