Ecuador has threatened to take Colombia's aerial spraying to
international courts if diplomacy failed to settle the dispute
between the two countries, Colombian media reported on
Speaking to Colombia's media from Ecuador, ingoing foreign
minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said Ecuador would first tackle
the problem using dialogue with Colombia, but would be willing to
use "international tools" if it did not stop spraying.
Ecuador's current government called for a halt to spraying of
coca plantations on the Ecuador-Colombia border, saying the
glyphosphate herbicide used was harmful to corps and residents. It
has called for a joint study into the effects of spraying.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe defended the policy by saying
that spraying coca leafs was the only way to stem funding for
leftist guerrillas. Coca leaf is the raw material for cocaine.
The dispute escalated after Ecuador recalled its ambassador from
Bogota and Rafael Correa, Ecuador's president-elect who will take
office in January, cancelled an official visit to Colombia.
The minister denied the cancellation was influenced by
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Colombia's refusal to halt
spraying during the presidential visit was the main reason, she
"I spoke to Maria Consuelo Araujo, Colombia's foreign minister,
by telephone, asking her to suspend the spraying during the visit,
but that did not happen and we had to suspend the planned trip,"
The foreign minister also said it was important for Uribe to
come to Correa's swearing-in ceremony, so that the two nations can
begin open and honest talks on the issue.
Colombia resumed spraying drug crops with glyphosphate along the
Colombia-Ecuador border on Dec. 11.
Colombia is the world's top cocaine producer and exporter.
(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2006)