Argentina and Ecuador renew relations following escaped ex-minister row

Presidents Fernández and Lasso met at the EU-CELAC summit for the first time since the fallout

President Alberto Fernández met Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso in their first bilateral meeting following a diplomatic incident in March over a former Ecuadorian minister convicted of corruption. According to official reports, the presidents agreed to “preserve the brotherly relationship that has historically united both countries.”

“I met with the president of Ecuador. We must modernize our current agreements to expand and diversify our exports, especially the automotive industry,” said Fernández on his Twitter account. “In this sense, it’s very important that we normalized our diplomatic relationship by assigning new ambassadors in Quito and Buenos Aires. The brotherhood that unites our peoples is historic and we must continue to strengthen it.”

The Ecuadorian government recalled their ambassador or expelled the Argentine ambassador in Quito, Gabriel Fuks, after a former Ecuadorian minister convicted of corruption, who had been staying in the Argentine embassy, fled to the country’s embassy in Caracas. 

María de los Ángeles Duarte Pesantes was a minister during former president Rafael Correa’s government and was sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption in 2020. She had been living as a guest in the Argentine embassy since 2020 and was granted diplomatic asylum there in 2022, along with her son, whose father is Argentine. Ecuador considers her a fugitive.  

Lasso had accused the Argentine government of facilitating her escape, which was denied by the Casa Rosada.

The meeting took place during the ongoing III Summit of Heads of State and Government of the European Union (EU) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Brussels, Belgium.

The bilateral meeting aimed to reestablish diplomatic relations with Ecuador, according to career professionals from both Foreign Ministries, according to what sources from the Argentine Foreign Ministry told Télam. 

“It is worth mentioning that despite the period without ambassadors, relations between Argentina and Ecuador continued at a consular level,” they said.

—with information from Télam


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