Colombia, Ecuador restore limited diplomatic ties

QUITO Fri Jun 6, 2008 5:15pm EDT

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QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador agreed on Friday to renew low-level diplomatic ties with Colombia, a step toward resolving a dispute stemming from a March anti-rebel raid by Colombia's military into Ecuador's territory.

"President Rafael Correa confirms his willingness to immediately renew relations at the level of charges d'affaires. He has given instructions to proceed with this measure," Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Maria Isabel Salvador told reporters.

The agreement was brokered by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. He worked with the U.N. Development Program to support a dialogue group composed of citizens from both countries to improve relations, said a statement from the Atlanta-based Carter Center.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe issued a statement earlier saying he was ready to reestablish diplomatic relations with Ecuador immediately.

Tensions remain between the Andean neighbors.

Colombian security forces killed left-wing guerrilla leader Raul Reyes in a March 1 raid carried out on Ecuador's side of the border.

Colombia says computer files found in Reyes' camp show that Ecuador and Venezuela had secret ties to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, a charge both countries deny.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia in Quito and Matthew Bigg in Atlanta, writing by Hugh Bronstein in Bogota)

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