Ecuador’s ambassador to the U.S. resigns over surveillance flights disagreement

Jan 8, 2020 | 73 comments

Ecuador ambassador to the U.S. Francisco Carrión submitted his resignation Tuesday, saying he disagreed with the government’s decision to allow U.S. surveillance flights without a signed agreement. “These flights have been conducted over Ecuadorian territory since September 2018 without rules or restrictions,” he explained.

Former ambassador to the U.S. Francisco Carrión

In its announcement that Carrión has stepped down, the government claimed that it had requested his resignation in an effort to improve relations with the U.S., particularly in trade-related matters. President Lenin Moreno’s private secretary, Juan Sebastián Roldán, said that the president had requested the resignation in the interest of “enhancing relations with the U.S. and creating a more fluid business exchange.”

Carrión called Roldán’s statement “nonsense,” saying that his views on the surveillance flights had been known to the government for months. “I made it clear I would resign without a detailed agreement allowing the flights and without a cessation of the flights until that time,” he said. “We were making significant progress in the area of trade during my ambassadorship so this was never an issue.”

Carrión added that he did not receive a request to step down before submitting his resignation to the president. “It is strange they say they requested my resignation after I had submitted it,” the ambassador said.

Citing security concerns Carrión did not provide details about current surveillance operations by U.S. aircraft over Ecuadorian territory but said he considered it “poor management of the country’s sovereignty” to allow them without a signed agreement. “My concern has been transmitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on several occasions that negotiations with the U.S. are in progress and no agreement has been signed.”

According to earlier announcements by the foreign ministry, the flights have been permitted over Ecuadorian territorial waters in the Pacific, including the Galapagos.

Carrión said there appeared an eagerness on the part of the government to please the U.S. “at all costs and I disagree with this approach.”

Prior to his appointment to the U.S. ambassadorship in 2018, Carrión had served as Foreign Minister, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to Spain and permanent representative to the UN.


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