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Colombia and Ecuador restore ties

6 June 08 23:41 GMT

Colombia and Ecuador have agreed to restore low-level diplomatic ties, which were severed after a raid on a Colombian rebel camp within Ecuador.

Relations are to be renewed at the level of charge d'affaires, under an agreement brokered by former US President Jimmy Carter.

Colombia's cross-border raid on 1 March killed rebel commander Raul Reyes and more than 25 other guerrillas.

It caused one of the biggest diplomatic crises in Latin America in years.

Ecuador and Venezuela sent troops to their borders after Colombia's raid, withdrawing them several days later after a meeting of regional leaders in the Dominican Republic.

Fragile agreement

The thaw in relations came after mediation conducted by former President Carter.

He spoke to both President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia and his Ecuadorian counterpart, Rafael Correa, by telephone, the Atlanta-based Carter Center said in a statement.

"President Rafael Correa confirms his willingness to immediately renew relations at the level of charges d'affaires," Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Maria Isabel Salvador confirmed later.

Relations had been severed abruptly after the Colombian air force bombed a camp used by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) just inside Ecuador, and sent troops to recover the body of Paul Reyes along with several laptops and documents.

The BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Bogota says it is the content of these computers that has delayed the restoration of diplomatic relations, and could see them break down again.

The Colombian government insists that the computers show Ecuador had secret links to the left-wing rebel group.

President Correa has vehemently denied the allegation and asked the Organisation of American States to investigate.

The OAS has already ruled that Colombia's attack was a violation of Ecuador's sovereignty.

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