With his declarations, del Castillo tried to downplay controversial statements made by Peru’s Minister for Foreign Trade an Tourism, Mercedes Aráoz, who said that Correa’s victory puts the integration of the Community of Andean Nations (CAN) in danger. Aráoz’s words generated a verbal impasse and received much criticism from Ecuadorian and also Peruvian officials.
The Prime Minister took advantage of the mass media presence at the Government Palace to send his greetings “to the new government the Ecuadorian people has chosen” and to minimize the controversy created by Aráoz who opined that Correa’s win is “lamentable” for the economic integration of the subregional block conformed by Bolivia and Colombia, in addition to Ecuador and Peru. Chile has recently joined the group as an Associate Member.
“We totally respect the victory of Correa we will continue working together as brother countries for the well-being of our citizens”, del Castillo said, adding that the opinion of Aráoz does not represent the position of the Peruvian government. He denied that relations with Ecuador are clouded as a result of these statements.
Del Castillo stated he doesn’t think Correa’s victory would harm regional integration or could be interpreted as a victory of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, a friend and ally of the new Ecuadorian president.
“The Ecuadorian people have spoken and chosen freely. The best thing than we can do is to respect the sovereign decision of the Ecuadorian people at the ballot boxes and to celebrate that this was done in a democratic process”, he commented.
Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde, currently in New York, chimed in as well, telling EFE news agency he has “the great expectations for the work on the bilateral agenda between both countries, as well as for CAN and the integration of South America”.
Ecuadorian president-elect Rafael Correa announced that President Alan Garcia has already sent him an invitation for a visit to Lima and added he is convinced that the new Ecuadorian government will have “a conduct of cooperation and enrichment” with Peru.
Correa decribed the words of Aráoz as "terrible" although he preferred not to discuss the issue any further because he had just heard about it.
“I don’t know about her statements, this is the first time someone told me about it”, he told TV channel Ecuavisa and added “it would be terrible if a Peruvian minister would make such statements.” However, he reaffirmed his position not to resume negotiations for a Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) with the United States.
He also responded to questions with respect to Hugo Chavez’s words that "Peru and Colombia signed the CAN’s death warrant when agreeing to individual trade treaties with the U.S. Correa announced that his government would aim for a better, intensified relation with Mercosur, the other South American economic bloc.
“Hopefully we are able to unify all integrating processes, at least in South America”, he commented.
(Source: Alexander Castro Backus, Peru21.com)