President Lenin Moreno agreed Friday to make changes to a retaining wall on the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border to satisfy concerns of the Peruvian government. Meeting with Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in Trujillo, Moreno also said that the two countries are committed to protecting the Amazon basin.
The wall, part of a linear park in the Ecuadorian border town of Huaquillas, raised tensions with Peru in June, when Peruvian officials claimed it eliminated cross-border access and posed a flood risk. The wall is only meters from a small river that serves as the border. Ecuador agreed to stop construction in July, pending Friday’s meeting between the presidents.
“I am happy to report that we have reached a satisfactory agreement on the wall and I applaud the efforts of the Ecuadorian government to resolve this matter,” Kuczynski told Moreno during the meeting’s closing statements.
Two formal agreements were signed during the meeting, one to strengthen health programs for those living in the Amazon region near the border, the second to create a program to protect Amazon natural resources and watersheds.
“President Moreno and I are extremely concerned about what is happening in the Amazon, particularly deforestation and illegal mining,” Kuczynski said. “Our countries are joint guardians of the largest hydrographic basin in the world and it is our job to take care of it.” Kuczynski and Moreno said they plan to call a summit of Amazonian governments to develop a “holistic” approach to environmental protection.
The two presidents also discussed the corruption scandals affecting both countries. Dozens of former government officials have been arrested and convicted for accepting bribes from the Brazilian development company Odebrecht.
“Peru has faced 25 years of scandals and we hope this dark period is coming to an end,” Kuczynski. He added: “I understand that our brothers and sisters in Ecuador face similar issues and we must work together to make sure justice is achieved.”
Moreno and Kuczynski announced they would meet again next year in the Galapagos Islands to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the peace treaty that ended the 1997-1998 war between Ecuador and Peru.