Ecuador-Mexico: ‘Cardinal principle’ of diplomatic inviolability must be upheld says UN chief

Quito's Plaza Grande, a much-visited area of the Ecuadorian capital.
United Nations/Mario Naranjo
Quito's Plaza Grande, a much-visited area of the Ecuadorian capital.
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In a statement released on Saturday night, António Guterres said he was alarmed by the raid on the embassy in the capital Quito which led to the arrest of Jorge Glas.

The Secretary-General “reaffirms the cardinal principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel, emphasizing that this principle must be respected in all cases, in accordance with international law”. Said the statement released by UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric.

Mexico had granted asylum to Mr. Glas who was sheltering in the embassy, but the Government of Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa argued that normal diplomatic rules were invalid due to the corruption charges he faced.

‘Normal relations’ at risk

“The Secretary-General stresses that violations of this principle jeopardize the pursuit of normal international relations, which are critical for the advancement of cooperation between States”, said Mr. Dujarric.

The breach of the embassy and arrest led Mexico to suspend diplomatic relations with and Mexico’s president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reportedly criticized the move as “authoritarian” and a breach of national sovereignty.

Governments across the region and across the political spectrum also criticized the embassy incursion, including Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay.

Mr. Glas has been staying in the embassy since December. Social media posts showed him being taken by police convoy to the airport in the capital, before being flown to Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil.

Seek resolution, urges Guterres

“The Secretary-General calls for moderation and exhorts both Governments to solve their differences through peaceful means”, Mr. Dujarric concluded.

The embassy raid followed Mexico granting Mr Glas’s request for asylum earlier on Friday. The former vice premier is facing further corruption charges having been convicted in 2017 for taking bribes from a Brazilian construction company, in exchange for awarding Government contracts.

Mr. Glas reportedly argues that the fresh charges are politically motivated.

Late on Saturday the Washington DC-based Organization of American States called for dialogue between Ecuador and Quito to resolve the diplomatic rift, adding that its permanent council would convene to discuss the need for strict compliance with international laws including the guarantee of the right to asylum.

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