Ecuadorian army soldiers arrive to patrol a beach during Carnival celebrations on February 11, 2024 in Atacames, Ecuador. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(CNN Spanish) --

The president of Ecuador, Daniel Noboa, signed this Thursday two decrees related to two agreements with the United States on security cooperation. This is the Agreement between Ecuador and the United States, relating to the Status of Forces and the Agreement Relating to Operations Against Illicit Transnational Maritime Activities, which had been signed during the Government of the previous president, Guillermo Lasso, but whose ratification was pending.

These agreements allow the execution of joint military operations between the forces of both countries to combat organized crime and insecurity in Ecuador.

On January 11, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador ruled that the agreements with the United States are legal and adhere to constitutional parameters, which is why it ordered the continuity of the process so that the president could make a statement.

This Thursday, with his signature and the request for immediate publication in the Official Registry, President Noboa gave way to the assistance of the United States in the maritime, land and air fields against transnational crime, drug trafficking, terrorism and other threats.

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Content of the agreements: immunity for US personnel and combined maritime operations

The agreements, among other things, grant privileges, exemptions and immunities to US personnel and authorize the US to exercise criminal jurisdiction over its personnel while they are in Ecuadorian territory.


They provide for the exemption of taxes and inspections for US personnel in the import, export and use of any personal property, equipment, supplies, technology or services.

They allow free mobility in Ecuadorian territory of aircraft, ships and vehicles operated by the US Department of Defense and the free contracting of supplies, supplies, equipment and services.

They authorize the use of the radio spectrum and the operation of telecommunications systems and frequencies to ensure full operational capacity.

The two States will present a program of combined maritime operations and designate agents to act on board the counterpart's ships.

The Ecuadorian Navy will authorize the US to board and inspect suspicious ships.

Ecuador will allow US aircraft to operate in national airspace and will authorize the US to transmit orders to the Ecuadorian Air Force in the event of suspicious activities.

Finally, the agreements exclude any claim - except those of a contractual nature - between both States for damage, loss or destruction of property of one of the parties, or for injury or death of members of the Armed Forces personnel or civilian personnel of either of the parties. the two countries that may be generated in the fulfillment of their duties.

Following the declaration of internal armed conflict in Ecuador, several high-level US officials have visited the South American country in recent weeks to delve deeper into security cooperation issues.

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It is not a political or military alliance, according to the Constitutional Court

In its ruling on January 11, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador specified that the agreements do not entail a political or military alliance because they do not have the purpose of carrying out military or warlike actions, which are typical of international armed conflicts.

The Court adds that the agreements do not imply a military alliance, since the organization assures that they are not associated with the defense of sovereignty and territorial integrity, which are activities within the military sphere.

On the other hand, the constitutional control body details that the agreements establish assistance mechanisms between the US Government and the Government of Ecuador for the visit of ships, training, exercises, humanitarian activities, cooperation activities to address challenges of shared security issues such as drug trafficking, international terrorism and other threats.

The United States and Ecuador also have a current air interception agreement, which was signed in 2023, during the Government of then President Lasso, and to which the Constitutional Court gave the green light in July 2023. This agreement promotes the interception of civil aircraft suspected of drug trafficking.

The Court ruled that for the execution of these agreements the pronouncement of the National Assembly is not required.