QUITO – Ecuador could see its annual spending of $120 million to manage the border with Colombia fall by as much as 80 percent with the advent of peace in the neighboring country, President Rafael Correa said Monday.
The Ecuadorian government currently has some 11,000 troops stationed on its northern border with Colombia, Correa told reporters here before boarding a plane for Cartagena to attend the signing of the accord ending 52 years of war between the Colombian government and FARC rebels.
Ecuador’s leader also sounded a note of caution, pointing out that in similar situations in the past, roughly 30 percent of former insurgents decide to hang onto their weapons and embark on criminal activity.
In light of such statistics, the governments of Ecuador and Colombia will rely on binational commissions to coordinate responses “to this new scenario,” he said.
The achievement of peace “is a cause of great joy for Colombia, for Ecuador, for the Greater Homeland (Latin America) and for the whole world,” Correa said.
He added, however, that Colombia has “a long way to go” to translate peace into justice, equity and broad prosperity.