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Ecuador plans to buy weapons from Iran
Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:51AM
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Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa visited Tehran earlier in December and was familiarized with Iranian defense equipment.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa says Quito may buy weapons from Iran to enable the tightening of security on its border with Colombia.

"We have a very serious problem on the northern border with Colombia, an irresponsible government that does not take care of its… border," AFP quoted Correa as saying on Saturday.

"We need to equip ourselves… Iran can supply us and help us with credit," the president explained.

Correa, heading a high-ranking delegation, paid an official visit to Tehran earlier this month after he received an invitation from his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

During his stay in Tehran, Ecuadorian officials attended an exhibition organized by the Iranian Defense Ministry and were familiarized with the country's defense equipment.

"We are prepared to impart our knowledge in the various areas of defense to the brotherly nation of Ecuador," announced Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar at the exhibition.

In his Saturday address, Correa cited the Columbian attack on a FARC camp in Ecuador to highlight the importance of purchasing weapons from Tehran. I cannot allow Ecuadorian sovereignty to be once again violated, he explained.

On March 1, Columbian forces staged a cross-border attack into Ecuador against a FARC camp. The main target of the raid was Raul Reyes, the number two leader in the shadowy FARC hierarchy.

Although military tensions between Quito and Bogota have eased, diplomatic relations are yet to be normalized.

"We cannot allow paramilitaries, guerrillas or whoever to cross into Ecuadorian territory; I cannot let Ecuadorian soldiers be killed or mutilated," Correa continued.

Iranian and Ecuadorian officials have vowed to promote relations in all fields.

Upper echelons in Washington believe the increase in ties between Iran and Latin American countries are sabotaging White House efforts to isolate Tehran in the international community.

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