(Brasilia, Brazil) Peru and Ecuador ended a half-century
dispute Monday by signing a peace treaty that settles ownership of a
slice of Amazon jungle the neighboring countries fought two wars to
The presidents and foreign ministers of both countries signed the
accord at a ceremony in Brazil's capital, where most of the peace
talks took place.
The United States, Brazil, Argentina and Chile brokered the
treaty, which delineates the border in a 48-mile section of the
Andean foothills. Peru
and Ecuador both claimed the area, which was left undefined after
a 1941 border war. The two countries fought over the strip of land in
1981 and 1995.
Monday's agreement lays ``the cement of peace,'' said Peruvian
President Alberto Fujimori.
``Now we should start to build the building, beautiful and
inhabitable,'' he said at the signing ceremony.
In a gesture of reconciliation, Ecuadoran President Jamil Mahuad
gave Fujimori a canteen used by Ecuadoran soldiers during the 1941
``The Amazon could have been destroyed by a war. Now we preserve
it with a peace accord,'' Mahuad said.
In Washington, President Clinton, who had met with the Ecuadoran
and Peruvian presidents at the White House on Oct. 9, offered his
``This signing marks the end of the longest-running source of
armed international conflict in the Western Hemisphere,'' Clinton
said in a written statement.
Mahuad and Fujimori also signed a separate agreement dealing with
cooperation on security, energy, tourism and trade.
The peace treaty draws the border along the heights of the
Cordillera del Condor mountain range, as Peru wanted.
But it grants a hill within Peruvian territory to Ecuador's
government. The 250-acre hill area, known as Tiwintza, is of great
symbolic importance to Ecuador because its soldiers successfully
defended it against Peruvian forces during the 1995 war.
In northern Peru on Saturday, protesters angry about losing
possession of the hill set fire to government trucks and offices.
Three people were trampled to death when police dispersed the crowd
of 5,000 with tear gas bombs in the jungle city of Iquitos, 600 miles
northeast of Lima.
Ecuador and Peru began peace talks in 1995. After years of slow
progress, the presidents of the two nations met in August to work out
the final details.
As a condition for brokering the talks, the United States and the
other three sponsors insisted that Peru and Ecuador accept whatever
outcome was reached.
``I think this is going to ... unleash a lot of investment in the
private sector, in the linkage of pipelines, for instance,'' said
U.S. envoy Luigi Einaudi. ``Ecuador has a lot of oil under the ground
that it can't get out, and Peru has a pipeline that is half
The treaty also calls for contiguous national parks to be created
in the disputed area.
``It's been a good week for peace accords ... Israel and now
this,'' said Thomas ``Mack'' McLarty, a U.S. envoy at the talks and a
former aide to President Clinton, who attended the signing
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