Colombia, Ecuador to redirect resources to mitigate Coronavirus impact

Colombia's President Ivan Duque speaks during an interview with Reuters in Bogota, Colombia

Ecuador and Colombia agreed on Sunday to continue bilateral coordination to redirect resources from the Binational Border Development and Social Reparation Fund to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 on their common border.

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno and Colombian President Ivan Duque released a joint statement after visiting the Mataje-La Espriella highway construction project, which will facilitate the transportation of goods and services between the two countries.

In the statement, both leaders expressed their concern about “the serious consequences” generated by the pandemic in the two countries, particularly in the border area, and reiterated their commitment to continue bilateral coordination on the health emergency “such as the reorientation of resources from the Binational Border Development and Social Reparation Fund.”

This fund, created in 2018, came into operation in May 2019 for projects in the border integration zone.

Moreno and Duque also agreed to continue bilateral dialogue to adopt adequate measures for a “possible reopening of the borders in a gradual, coordinated and progressive manner.” Both nations closed their borders in March to help slow the spread of the pandemic.

Duque described the meeting as “very productive,” noting that there is a “growing trend of win-win binational trade,” and the infrastructure projects on the border represent investment and employment.

The leaders met after the ninth Colombia-Ecuador Presidential Meeting and Binational Cabinet that was held online on Nov. 26 to discuss issues of bilateral interest. 

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