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Brazil's Lula offers cooperation to Ecuador amid escalating violence

FILE PHOTO: 63rd Summit of Heads of State of MERCOSUR and Associated States in Rio de Janeiro

(Reuters) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Tuesday offered cooperation to his Ecuadorian counterpart Daniel Noboa to boost security amid escalating violence in the Andean country.

In a phone call, Lula said Brazil was willing to help Ecuador through cooperation in intelligence and security, according to a statement from the presidential palace.

Noboa took power in November and pledged to curb violence, which has been on the rise since the pandemic. Incidents this month have included the taking of more than 200 prison staff as hostages and explosions in several cities.

Ecuador's government declared a state of emergency for 60 days earlier this month to tame violence.

Noboa and Lula agreed that South American countries need to unite in the fight against organized crime, the statement said, adding coordination is also needed with drug-consuming countries to effectively combat trafficking.

(Reporting by Peter Frontini; Editing by Alistair Bell)