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Mexico cuts diplomatic ties with Ecuador after Jorge Glas arrest

Mexico is cutting ties with Ecuador after police stormed the Mexican embassy in Quito to arrest former Ecuadorian Vice-President Jorge Glas.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said they had “forcibly entered” the embassy in a “flagrant violation of international law”.

Glas took refuge in the embassy last December after Ecuador issued an arrest warrant against him for alleged corruption.

Glas’s lawyer said he was innocent.

Glas served as Ecuador’s vice-president between 2013 and 2017. He was relieved of his duties because of mounting corruption allegations against him.

Later that year he was sentenced to six years in jail in connection with corruption at the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. Prosecutors said he took $13.5m (£10.2m) in bribes.

He was released from prison in November but Ecuadorian authorities then issued another arrest warrant alleging further allegations of corruption, triggering Glas to seek refuge in the Mexican embassy.

On Friday, Mexico said it had granted Glas political asylum “after a thorough analysis” of the situation – an action Ecuador viewed as illegal.

“Ecuador is a sovereign nation and we are not going to allow any criminal to stay free,” Ecuador’s Presidency said in a statement.

It said Glas, who had been “sentenced to imprisonment by the Ecuadoran justice system”, had been arrested and “placed under the orders of the competent authorities”.

Photographs from the scene show police scaling a wall and metal fence at the embassy’s closed entrance.

Mexico’s Mr Obrador, writing on X, said he had ordered the immediate suspension of diplomatic ties as a result.

“Police from Ecuador forcibly entered our embassy and detained the former vice-president of that country who was a refugee and processing asylum due to the persecution and harassment he faces.

“This is a flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty of Mexico.”

A number of diplomats were injured in the incident, according to Alicia Bárcena, Mexico’s secretary of foreign relations.

Tension between the two countries has been mounting in recent days. On Wednesday, Mr Obrador made remarks, considered “unfortunate” by Ecuador, about violence during last year’s election – won by Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa.

The following day Ecuador declared the Mexican ambassador a persona non grata and said she should leave the country.

BBC

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