President Guillermo Lasso and Peruvian President Pedro Castillo agreed on Friday to strengthen cooperation to promote border area development in the post-pandemic era.
The agreement was reached by the two presidents in Loja, according to a joint declaration issued after the conclusion of the 14th Ecuador-Peru Binational Cabinet meeting.
“We have completed this Binational Cabinet meeting in which we have dealt with issues of enormous importance for strengthening bilateral relations and the development of the border integration zone,” Lasso said at a joint press conference.
He pointed out that both sides are working to promote the wellbeing of people in the border area, given the economic and social impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. He added that on Thursday Ecuador rescinded several pandemic health restrictions, including one requiring masking. He said he expected almost all restrictions to be removed in the coming weeks.
“We agree on the importance of reopening the common border with a view to fully restart the transit of people and commercial exchange and economic and productive reactivation,” Lasso said, referring to the reopening of the Ecuador-Peru border in February.
The two presidents decided to work together in water projects and road integration while repowering binational technical training centers on both sides of the border.
Meanwhile, they also reached consensus in the joint fight against transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal migration, weapons smuggling, and illegal mining and fishing.
“We still have a long way to go in order to face common problems. We have to strengthen this unity more and more to put an end to scourges such as drug trafficking, indiscriminate logging and the crime problem,” Castillo told reporters.
This was the first time that Lasso and Castillo had presided over a Binational Cabinet, an annual event to evaluate the progress in delivering commitments and draw new roadmaps for resolving issues of mutual interest.
The Binational Cabinet is a platform for dialogue established by the two South American countries in 2007.