LatinNews Daily - 19 February 2024

In brief: Russia lifts import ban on Ecuadorean bananas

*Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Gabriela Sommerfeld has announced that that Russia has lifted a suspension on the import of bananas from five Ecuadorean companies. Whilst the bans were ostensibly due to Russian phytosanitary concerns, they have appeared closely related to a reported agreement between Ecuador and the US which would see Ecuador trade old Russian-manufactured military equipment for modern US military hardware, with the Russian equipment to be sent onwards to Ukraine. On 15 February, the day before Sommerfeld announced the lifting of the Russian import ban, Ecuador’s foreign ministry announced that it would send a delegation to Russia to “overcome this impasse as soon as possible”. Russia’s ambassador to Ecuador, Vladimir Sprinchan, was then cited by the Russian and international media on 17 January as saying that he had discussed “some of the complications” in bilateral relations with Ecuador’s President Daniel Noboa, and said he was confident the weapons transfer with the US would not go ahead.

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