Ecuadorian, Colombian presidents seek closer ties, cooperation

In this photo taken on Jan 31, 2023, Colombian President Gustavo Petro (left) and Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso (right) shake hands during the XI Binational Cabinet in Tulcan, Ecuador. (PHOTO / AFP)

QUITO — Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso met Tuesday with his Colombian counterpart Gustavo Petro in the northern Ecuadorian city of Tulcan, with the two sides vowing to strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation.

Border security cooperation and joint crackdown on environmental crimes are high on the agenda as violence fueled by drug trafficking gangs, armed rebel groups and other crimes are on the rise in their bordering area.

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The two presidents also agreed to boost trade, agriculture and environment cooperation for opportunities in the global market, Lasso said in a statement on Facebook.

"We reaffirm the ties of brotherhood and cooperation that bind our countries," Petro said.

Following the meeting, Lasso and Petro are expected to sign a 2023 Action Plan and issue a joint declaration, according to the official agenda released by the Presidency of Ecuador.