Peruvian Prez arrives in Ecuador to preside over Binational Cabinet meeting

Quito, April 30 (IANS) Peruvian President Pedro Castillo arrived in the southern Ecuadorian city of Loja to join his Ecuadorian counterpart Guillermo Lasso to co-chair the 14th Binational Cabinet meeting between the two countries.

Castillo arrrived in Ecuador on Friday morning.

The General Secretariat of Communication of the Ecuadorian Presidency said on its Twitter account that the Peruvian President was received at a local airport near the border city by Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Holguin.

In the city, Castillo and Lasso are scheduled to preside over the 14th Ecuador-Peru Binational Cabinet to analyse issues of common interest and projects in various areas in the border area between the two countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

Informed sources said the meeting will address issues of border security, defence, cooperation, trade, energy, among others.

The Binational Cabinet is a platform for dialogue established by the two South American countries in 2007.

This will be the first time that Lasso and Castillo preside over a Binational Cabinet, an annual event to evaluate the progress in delivering commitments and draw new roadmaps for resolving issues of mutual interest.

Participating in the bilateral event are Ministers from the two neighbouring countries.

Speaking at the inauguration, the Ecuadorian President said, “This day will be a great opportunity to continue promoting our common agenda on priority issues of benefit to both nations, particularly those related to the border area.”

Lasso said the Covid-19 pandemic had affected the economies of the region in a “dramatic way” and that it is crucial to seek joint solutions at this time of social and economic recovery.

Participants in the meeting often discuss social and cultural issues in addition to production, trade, investment and tourism, infrastructure and connectivity.

Security and defence issues will also be discussed in addition to environment, energy and mining.

“On border security, I am sure that we agree on strengthening our fight against organised crime, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, arms and explosives and emphasising the fight against illegal mining,” the Ecuadorian President added.

The Peruvian President said Peru and Ecuador share multiple interests that stem from a long common border and grapple with drug trafficking, illegal mining, inequalities and poverty.