Colombia, Ecuador agree on joint plan to confront organized crime on border
BOGOTA (Reuters) - The armed forces of Colombia and Ecuador on Wednesday signed an agreement to implement a plan to contain drug trafficking and organized crime on their shared border, authorities in both countries said.
Colombia and Ecuador share a porous border that stretches some 586 kilometers and where criminal gangs and illegal armed groups engage in smuggling and drug trafficking.
The border protection plan will carry out operations on a operational, tactical and strategic level among operational units as well as decisions to be agreed by both countries' defense ministers, the joint command of Ecuador's armed forces said in a statement.
"Efforts currently under our responsibility to eliminate drug trafficking, environmental crimes, smuggling, and other areas will not decline," General Helder Giraldo, the general commander of Colombia's military, said in another statement.
The government of Colombian President Gustavo Petro in November called on countries with which it shares a border to work together on a military offensive against illegal armed groups.
As well as Ecuador, Colombia shares a border with Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and Panama.
Colombia's border regions are home to extensive crops of coca, the main ingredient in cocaine, drug labs and illegal oil refineries, as well as illegal armed groups with connections to Mexican drug cartels, according to security sources.
(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Leslie Adler)