The Minister indicates that the crisis faced by Unasur is marked by 6 countries that decided not to participate or pay their contributions. Ecuador is not in that group, rather, it is in those who seek an exit to the problem.
A review of the foreign policy of the country, especially in economic matters and bilateral relations, as well as the situation of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and Julian Assange, made the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Valencia Amores, in a dialogue with EL TELEGRAFO newspaper.
At the moment, Ecuador talks with Julian Assange’s lawyer to solve his situation.
Is it Baltazar Garzón?
Ecuador asked Assange to appoint a legal attorney and the request was answered. I cannot reveal his name, because Assange has not authorized us legally to do so.
The government wants the life of the journalist to be respected, would he accept a mechanism in which he keeps prison in England?
In this, the country is not alone; it is a decision that does not depend solely on Ecuador, because if the country depended, this could possibly have been resolved. Recall that the former foreign ministers (Ricardo Patiño, Guillaume Long and Maria Fernanda Espinosa) already made many efforts on this issue, but did not prosper.
The matter also depends on the United Kingdom and Mr. Assange. But is the issue in the process of a solution?
Do not be unaware that before there were also negotiations. I do not want to go into judging if those efforts were good or bad, but evidently, the efforts (of the ex-chancellors) were not positive because nothing has happened. This, in the sense of what was sought and not materialized.
My management seeks an understanding within the framework of international law. There is no fixed term because the matter is complex.
How is the image of the country on an international scale now?
The image of Ecuador is up, at an excellent level. The best proof of that is that several countries are approaching and want to establish new contacts with Ecuador. One initiative was to resume the Diplomatic Academy.
Was the external service not professionalized?
My management promotes the creation of the Diplomatic Academy that had been suppressed in the management of former Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño (2010). It was abolished because it was believed that the training work of members of the Foreign Ministry could be ascribed to the IAEN.
Were there consequences for suppressing the Academy?
It seems to me that the main effect is that it concentrated on training courses in the initial categories of the race and the rest was neglected.
When you do not have this organized body you lose an institutional harmony, in terms of efficiency and updating for better care.
Is an FTA with the United States possible?
The approach is to have a commercial understanding, without labeling it as an FTA, which provides security, predictability and a framework for trade to progress and grow. For example, as a result of the distancing and cooling of the bilateral relationship, exports to that country were reduced. In spite of that, the USA It is our main commercial and economic partner.
We seek that the understandings do not have any specific label, but that they respond to the national interest, where the national norms are respected.
Although it should not be labeled, how is an FTA different from a new proposal?
It corresponds to a different moment. The country’s experience in entering into trade agreements varied over time. Many of the elements of the agreement with the European Union will possibly be applicable to the understandings that can be given with the United States.
Will we join the Pacific Alliance?
There are certain moments in the integration to the Pacific Alliance, the initial one was already done, which was to be accepted within the organism. Then, there is another step, which is to be an associated state and finally, a member.
For that, it is necessary to agree with the members the conditions to access that participation within this block. The approach was not a political decision, but a commercial one.
Is Ecuador still part of ALBA?
The country has a status with respect to ALBA, but has not been 100% consolidated, however Ecuador has been integrated into this system. Currently, there has not been a particular new initiative regarding ALBA.
Are you stuck like Unasur?
No, Unasur is a different reality, because it is a way of integrating the South American countries that seeks to materialize different agendas that are not included in other integration processes such as CAN or Mercosur.
The Unasur crisis is due to a lack of agreements between the States. Bolivia affirmed that the Unasur building will be returned, only if there is an agreement among the members to strengthen the organization.
What is the position of the country?
Ecuador is a promoter of regional integration, since it has made a series of efforts so that the crisis is overcome. I have spoken with the foreign ministers to find a solution. The crisis worries us.
We are also concerned that the building is underutilized because it cost a lot, since in practice it does not work. If the organization is reactivated, it would need less space.
That is why it is logical to look for an additional seat. The country has the openness to find a suitable place and suitable to their needs. The country will make the effort to prevent the disappearance of Unasur. (I)