Mexico welcomes home Ecuador embassy staff after armed raid

Mexico welcomes home Ecuador embassy staff after armed raid


Ecuadorean soldiers forced their way into Mexico's embassy in Quito late Friday night

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico welcomed the return of its Ecuador embassy personnel on Sunday, two days after police raided the facility in an act that triggered an abrupt diplomatic break while provoking global shock and condemnation of the South American nation.

Ecuadorean police and soldiers forced their way into Mexico's embassy in Quito late Friday night to arrest former Vice President Jorge Glas who had for months taken refuge there, after Mexican officials offered him formal asylum protection earlier in the day.

Ecuador argued it was unlawful to grant asylum to Glas, who had been convicted twice on graft charges.

Glas, 54, who had a preventive arrest warrant out on another corruption case, had been holed up in the embassy in Quito since seeking political asylum in December.

At the Mexican capital's main airport, Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena hailed the solidarity shown with Mexico from 18 Latin American governments - nearly the entire region and spanning its ideological divides - in addition to 10 European nations, plus the United States and Canada.

While welcoming about a couple dozen embassy personnel who were flown back to Mexico, the diplomat also lashed out at Ecuador's "physical aggression" on the embassy. She also reiterated plans to seek further international rebukes for the government of President Daniel Noboa over the incident.

Earlier on Sunday, Britain became the latest country to condemn Ecuador's incursion into the embassy, according to a foreign office statement.

Mexico's ambassador to Ecuador, Raquel Serur, flanked Barcena at the ceremony.

"President Noboa made a mistake by taking a decision that didn't just break with all established international conventions, but it also showed ignorance of the reality of his country," said Serur, adding that the president "doesn't understand" that individuals can be provided with asylum protections without judging their innocence or guilt.

Ecuadorean police arrested Glas, who served as vice president to leftist former President Rafael Correa, due to the ongoing corruption charges.

Last week, Noboa's government declared Serur persona non grata due to what it called "unfortunate" comments by Mexico's president, who had weighed in on last year's presidential race in Ecuador claiming that media manipulation following a candidate assassination led to his fellow leftist's loss.