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Peru recalls ambassador after Ecuador builds border wall

By Andrew V. Pestano
The Zarumilla River partly separates Ecuador and Peru, which recalled its ambassador to Ecuador on Monday after the Ecuadorian government built a border wall near the Zarumilla International Canal. File Photo by <a class="tpstyle" href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zarumilla_River_Peru-Ecuador_border.jpg">StarbucksFreak/Wikimedia/CC</a>
The Zarumilla River partly separates Ecuador and Peru, which recalled its ambassador to Ecuador on Monday after the Ecuadorian government built a border wall near the Zarumilla International Canal. File Photo by StarbucksFreak/Wikimedia/CC

July 12 (UPI) -- Peru has recalled its ambassador to Ecuador amid an escalating dispute after Quito constructed a border wall less than a mile long.

Ecuador built the 13-foot tall wall spanning 0.6 miles, on its side of the Zarumilla International Canal. The wall spans from Huaquillas in southern Ecuador to Aguas Verdes in Peru.

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While Quito says it built the wall as a precaution to prevent flooding, Lima argues the wall can disrupt the flow of water and could raise the risk of flooding on the Peruvian side.

"The government of Peru has called in consultation with Lima its ambassador in Ecuador, Hugo Otero," Peru's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Monday. "The decision has been taken in consideration that the government of Ecuador has built a wall as part of the so-called Linear Park on the right-hand side of the Zarumilla International Canal, despite requests made by Peru to halt the work."

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In 1995, Ecuador and Peru fought in a one-month military conflict -- called the Cenepa War -- for control of a disputed area on the border. Both sides declared victory in the inconclusive conflict, which follows a century of border disagreements. In 1998, after diplomatic negotiations, Ecuador and Peru signed the Brasilia Presidential Act -- in which a border agreement was attached.

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Peru accuses Ecuador of violating the agreement in the latest border dispute.

"This construction constitutes a breach of paragraph 21 of the Basal Agreement, which is part of the Brasilia Accords of 1998, by which Ecuador was forced to leave a strip of 10 meters on the right side of the canal so that both countries could carry out their maintenance and cleaning," the Peruvian foreign ministry added.

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