María de los Angeles Duarte: Diplomatic standoff between Ecuador and Argentina: Ambassadors expelled after ex-minister escapes | International

Residence of the Argentine Embassy in Ecuador.Jose Jacome (EFE)

Ecuador’s government decided to expel Argentina’s ambassador this Tuesday, after a former minister on corruption charges escaped diplomatic law after he was granted asylum. The Andean nation’s president, Juan Carlos Holguin, said the decision to declare ambassador Gabriel Fux persona persona was made after several meetings to clarify how former transport minister María de los Angeles Duarte escaped from Argentina. Embassy of Quito. Given the existence of “inconsistencies in certain information”, Holguin felt that the “principle of good faith and mutual trust between states” had been violated. Alberto Fernández’s government soon announced reciprocity, expelling Ecuador’s ambassador in Buenos Aires.

Duarte is now in Venezuela and was welcomed by Ambassador Oscar Laborte and Argentine diplomatic officials in Caracas after fleeing the diplomatic headquarters in Quito on Friday, March 10. The Ecuadorian police are investigating how the former official escaped, but according to a statement from the Argentine Foreign Ministry, “there is no presence in the section of the building where Duarte lived last weekend, not far from the official residence of the Argentine representative. , and because of that, they have not been able to find their whereabouts, and have continued their respective tours of different dependencies.

Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry found out about the leak on Monday afternoon and so far Argentina’s diplomatic office has refused to provide additional information and security videos about Duarte. Additionally, the Argentine government’s versions do not help clarify how and who helped the former minister, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for bribery, escape.

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Ecuador has also summoned its ambassador in Argentina, Xavier Mong, for consultation, who will arrive in the country in the next few hours. The foreign minister pointed out that there is no record of Duarte ever leaving the country or of having done so for Colombia.

Foreign Minister Holguin believes that “relationships can be rebuilt at a time when a high-level dialogue channel is established that allows for the recovery of the goodwill of the actions of the states” and that after the departure of Ambassador Fuchs, Argentina must present a new representative to the country. Only then will they analyze the situation, he added.

Duarte Rafael was the transportation minister in the Correa government and was part of a structure that collected private money in exchange for government contracts from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, according to the prosecutor’s office. In the same case, other ministers, former Vice President George Klaus and former President Rafael Correa were convicted. All reported political persecution.

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The principle arrived at the residence of the Argentine Embassy in Quito on August 12, 2020 to avoid serving the sentence imposed and the Argentine diplomatic corps received him as a guest on humanitarian grounds. In December 2022, Argentina granted Duarte diplomatic asylum, hoping that the corrupt suspect would be able to obtain safe conduct to leave the country. However, the Ecuadorian authorities rejected the request.

Alberto Fernández’s government has ordered the expulsion of Ecuador’s ambassador in Buenos Aires, making clear its “surprise and deep regret” at the end of Guillermo Lasso’s administration, accusing him of “exacerbating” existing discord in the situation. Examiners and “lead to prejudice in a bilateral relationship.” A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asserts that the former minister left the diplomatic corps “without consultation or prior notification to any authority of the Argentine embassy” and clarifies that “there is no international standard for the detention of Argentine diplomatic officers.” Mrs. Duarte. Instead, the letter suggests, it happened because of “the ineffectiveness of the Ecuadorian authorities.”

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Esmond Harmon

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