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30 Dec, 2019 14:42

Bolivia expels Mexico ambassador in Morales asylum row, while Mexico instructs her to return home for her own safety

Bolivia expels Mexico ambassador in Morales asylum row, while Mexico instructs her to return home for her own safety

Bolivia’s interim government has said it is expelling the Mexican ambassador and two Spanish diplomats. Meanwhile, the Mexican government says it has recalled its ambassador for her own safety.

Speaking at a press conference in La Paz on Monday, interim president Jeanine Anez announced that Mexican ambassador Maria Teresa Mercado, along with two Spanish diplomatic personnel, have been given 72 hours to leave Bolivia. Following Anez’ decision, Mexico’s foreign ministry said it has instructed Mercado to return to Mexico to ensure her safety.

Also on rt.com Embassy row: Mexico to appeal to International Court of Justice over Bolivia’s coup govt ‘harassing’ its diplomats in La Paz

Bolivia and Mexico have been embroiled in a diplomatic feud ever since the Mexican government granted asylum to ousted Bolivian leader Evo Morales last month. Since then, Mexico has accused Bolivian authorities of “harassing” its diplomatic facilities, and surrounding its embassy with police and intelligence agents. Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Thursday that his government would take Bolivia to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the “police and military siege” of its embassy.

Spain became involved in the spat on Friday, when Bolivian authorities stopped a number of Spanish diplomats from entering Mercado’s residence in La Paz. The Bolivian government claimed that the Spanish diplomats’ security detail were armed and masked, and were attempting to free associates of Morales who have been sheltering inside.

These nine associates include Juan Ramon Quintana, a former aide to Morales who has been accused by Anez’ government of sedition, criminal instigation and terrorist financing. Mexico has granted asylum to the nine, but all remain in the ambassador’s residence.

Also on rt.com ‘I’ll be back’: Ousted leader Morales says his party will win elections, plans return to Bolivia

Madrid outright denied that its diplomats were entering the residence to free Quintana and his associates. Instead, the Spanish government described the visit as routine, and said it would investigate the incident further.

As the squabble between Mexico and Bolivia continues, Morales has moved to Argentina, where he has been granted political asylum by newly-elected President Alberto Fernandez. Initially fleeing Bolivia after losing the support of his police and generals in what he calls a “coup,” Morales has vowed to lead his socialist party to electoral success from abroad, and to return to Bolivia within a year.

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