The Government of Ecuador's Expulsion of a Second U.S. Diplomat

Press Statement
Gordon Duguid
Acting Deputy Department Spokesman, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 19, 2009

The decision by the Government of Ecuador to expel a second American diplomat is very troubling and raises serious concerns about Ecuador’s desire to maintain a productive relationship.

We reject any suggestion of wrongdoing by Embassy staff. Our Embassy personnel have acted with utmost respect for Ecuador’s sovereignty. Our programs have been administered in a transparent and accountable fashion, with the full cooperation of Ecuador’s senior officials.

Whenever questions or concerns have been raised by the Government of Ecuador, we have responded in a forthright and open fashion. In regard to recent events, we made clear to the Foreign Ministry that we believed we could resolve the issues raised by the Government of Ecuador. Our Ambassador was scheduled to meet with the Vice Minister on Wednesday, February 18, to present a proposal that we believe would have addressed the Government of Ecuador’s concerns.

Regrettably, the Government of Ecuador rejected our efforts to resolve this issue through diplomatic channels and instead held a press conference and announced the expulsion of our diplomat.

The cooperation that the United States and Ecuador have fashioned over time in the fight against drug trafficking, terrorism, and trafficking in people has paid positive dividends for both countries. We hope the Government of Ecuador will reconsider its actions and return to a dialogue designed to enhance our cooperation on issues of mutual importance and increasing relevance in the region.

PRN: 137