They will discuss a new legal provision in the follow-up to an earlier agreement to eliminate a decree doing away with fuel subsidies.
The European Union (EU) on Thursday urged Ecuador to continue negotiating to achieve a "reconciliation" agreement after protests that ended Sunday left at least seven dead and hundreds injured after state security forces cracked down on anti-austerity protesters. Their efforts, led by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), resulted in the government's reinstating a fuel subsidy that was done away with on Oct. 3, sparking the protests in the first place.
"The EU encourages continuing negotiations within the country's political and democratic institutions towards an agreement that reconciles the social needs of the population with the ongoing process of economic reforms," said the EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini in a statement released Thursday.
During a televised forum on Sunday, the government and CONAIE leaders discussed a replacement for Decree 883 that did away with the 40-year old gas subsidy. The decree was eventually scrapped by President Lenin Moreno and the two sides agreed to draw up a replacement decree together mediated by the Ecuadorean Episcopal Conference and the United Nations in Ecuador.
"Such an agreement would help the country overcome the current polarization and return it to stable political and economic conditions," added Mogherini.
The minister added that the EU “celebrates the agreement reached by the president of Ecuador ... and representatives of Indigenous groups, backed by the United Nations and the Episcopal Conference, which opens the way to the restoration of peace and public order in the country."
In a joint statement, religious leaders and the U.N. office in Quito reported that government and Indigenous representatives began meeting on Wednesday. A new, final decree has yet to be announced.
On Thursday, the CONAIE announced that the Inter-American Comission of Human Rights (IACHR) will open an investigation regarding the protests and the police and military repression that followed. A delegation will visit the Ecuador from Oct. 28-30.
La @CIDH conducirá Misión de visita de trabajo a Ecuador del 28 a 30 octubre para observar en terreno la situación de los #DDHH en el país en el contexto de las protestas sociales, actos de violencia, conocer la respuesta por parte del Estado y desarrollo del proceso de diálogo. https://t.co/Qk0BkraznK— CONAIE (@CONAIE_Ecuador) 17 de octubre de 2019
Decree 883 eliminated long-standing fuel subsidies that doubled prices at the pump overnight. The measure was linked to commitments under a US$4.2 billion loan agreement between the Moreno administration and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which Indigenous leaders and other opponents decried as a betrayal to the nation.
The United Workers Front (FUT) announced plans on Thursday for new mobilizations to take place Oct. 30. FUT president, Messiah Tatamuez, said the protests are in response to the anticipated labor reforms set to be rolled out by the government by year's end. The labor adjustments, also part of the IMF conditions, are expected to reduce workers' wages and vacations. An estimated 140,000 state workers are expected to be let go over the next three years.
The Secretary of the Presidency, Juan Sebastian Roldan, said that Moreno will not to dialogue with the FUT if it goes through with the protests, according to local press.
The demonstrations that took place between Oct. 3 and 13 left at least eight people dead, according to the Public Defender's office, while more than 1,500 were injured, and 1,192 detained.