Embassy Quito Press Release
May 22, 2019
BILATERAL EXPANDED POLITICAL DIALOGUE JOINT STATEMENT
Following the visit of the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, to Ecuador in June 2018, the Bilateral Expanded Political Dialogue between Ecuador and the United States of America took place at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility in Quito on May 22, 2019.
The Dialogue began with a meeting between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, Ambassador José Valencia, and the Under Secretary for Political Affairs of the State Department, Ambassador David Hale, who reviewed the bilateral relationship within the framework of mutual respect and the national interests of both countries, and with a view towards the future and the global and regional issues on the international agenda.
Subsequently, there was a comprehensive review of bilateral issues, chaired by Ambassador Andres Teran, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Political Integration and Cooperation, for the Ecuadorian side, and Ambassador David Hale, Under Secretary for Political Affairs of the Department of State, for the U.S. side.
The two countries highlighted the importance of strengthening democracy, transparency, the rule of law, and fundamental freedoms, in particular freedoms of the press, expression, and association, as well as fighting corruption. Regarding judicial cooperation, the two Parties agreed to continue working to facilitate pending extradition proceedings.
The United States acknowledged the efforts of the Ecuadorian government in stabilizing the economy and taking advantage of international trade and investment opportunities. It expressed its support for reforms aimed at fiscal stability, economic growth, and development. Both Parties underscored the importance of maintaining a dialogue on economic and trade issues through the Trade and Investment Council.
Both delegations welcomed the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ecuador and the Government of the United States through the Agency for International Development (USAID).
The United States announced the signing of an agreement by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) that aims to guarantee $150 million in financing through Ecuador’s financial sector for mortgage loans for affordable housing in Ecuador.
The Ecuadorian delegation also expressed its appreciation for cooperation initiatives already underway, especially in the area of humanitarian assistance, and expressed interest in receiving support for the Commission of International Experts in the Fight against Corruption, as well as initiatives in the area of cybersecurity.
They highlighted the growing collaboration to combat transnational organized crime, narcotrafficking, and money laundering. They noted the achievements of U.S. cooperation in support of air and maritime surveillance, which has permitted Ecuadorian authorities to seize significant amounts of narcotics. Both delegations reiterated the shared responsibility in the fight against drug trafficking among drug producing, transit, and destination countries. To this end, the United States announced $7 million in additional funding from the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau (INL) to strengthen Ecuador’s institutional capacity in the fight against narcotrafficking and transnational organized crime.
They welcomed the meetings of the Working Group on Human Mobility and Consular Issues, whose results will benefit the citizens of both countries.
While reaffirming the shared goal of defending democracy in the Americas, the Parties expressed their deep concern about the crisis in Venezuela, including violations of human rights, the humanitarian emergency, and the critical economic situation, which have caused the exodus of four million Venezuelans to other countries, including Ecuador.
The United States commended Ecuador’s efforts to host more than 300,000 Venezuelans, as well as its leadership in coordinating a regional response to the migration crisis through the “Quito Process.” Ecuador stated that it is making important efforts to provide health, education, and social services to the Venezuelan population. In this regard, Ecuador stated that it would require approximately $550 million between 2019 and 2021 to assist vulnerable Venezuelans throughout the country.
The United States has provided in support of Ecuador’s effort approximately $35 million in humanitarian assistance since 2018 through international organizations and NGOs that provide protection and services to Venezuelans, Colombian refugees, and vulnerable populations in Ecuador.
The two countries reiterated their firm support for Interim President Juan Guaidó and urged the release of detained political leaders, as well as a peaceful and democratic solution that will lead to free, fair, and transparent elections as soon as possible and guarantee the human rights of the Venezuelan people.
Vice Minister Teran and Under Secretary Hale agreed to hold the Bilateral Expanded Political Dialogue annually in order to guide and strengthen bilateral relations.
In the context of the Bilateral Expanded Political Dialogue, the Parties signed four memoranda of understanding, which protect the cultural heritage of Ecuador, support English teaching by the Peace Corps, increase the exchange of information on security issues and enhance the cooperation framework with INL.