The EU delegation in La Paz has expressed deep concern over the escalation of tension and has criticized the declaration as non-gracious people of Spanish diplomats
The diplomatic fire between Bolivia, Mexico and Spain adds a new actor with the European Union’s pronouncement on expulsion, announced Monday by the president of the interim Government of Bolivia Jeanine Áñez, of two Spanish diplomats from the Andean country.
The EU delegation in La Paz expressed its “deep concern” about the escalation of diplomatic tension and criticized the declaration as “non-grateful people” of the Spanish diplomats by the Bolivian authorities, a measure that “rejects”. In response to La Paz’s “hostile gesture,” the Spanish government announced the expulsion of three other Bolivian diplomats accredited to Spain.
In addition, the EU has asked for explanations about the escalation of diplomatic tension to the interim Government of Bolivia, after having held a meeting between the heads of mission of the Member States, the EU and Spain on Monday afternoon to learn about the Spanish version from what has occurred. “The Delegation of the European Union would appreciate receiving an explanation from the interim Government of Bolivia as soon as possible”, they said.
On Monday, the interim president of Bolivia ordered the exit of the country “in 72 hours” by the Spanish diplomats Cristina Borreguero, in charge of business of the delegation and the consul Álvaro Fernández, as well as the ambassador of Mexico in Bolivia María Teresa Mercado and other Spanish officials, for “seriously injuring the sovereignty of the Bolivian people and government”.
The EU stresses that the expulsion of diplomats “is an extreme and unfriendly measure that must be reserved for serious situations.” In “reciprocity to the hostile gesture of the Bolivian Government”, Spain has declared ‘people non gratas’ to the person in charge of Business and the Bolivian police and military attacks in Madrid.
No Spanish staff at the embassy
After the departure of these two diplomats from Bolivia, who are already processing Spain and must take place before Wednesday, there will be no Spanish diplomat in the embassy in La Paz, according to the diplomatic sources. The current Spanish ambassador to Bolivia, Emilio Pérez de Agreda, who was on holiday in Spain when the controversy began, does not plan to return to the Andean country for now. The diplomatic mission in La Paz will continue to “handle ordinary matters”.
As for Mexico, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately ordered the return of its ambassador, María Teresa Mercado, “in order to safeguard their safety and integrity”. In a statement, they noted that the decision of the interim Government of Bolivia to declare it “persona non grata” is “a political decision”.
The expulsion of diplomats does not imply the breakdown of diplomatic relations between Spain and Bolivia, as both the Spanish government and the Bolivian Chancellery have emphasized. “Spain wants to continue to maintain close relations of friendship and solidarity with the country and the sister people of Bolivia, with full support for its democratic will to be expressed in the legitimately established channels”, they affirm from the presidency of the Government.
Along the same lines, the EU Delegation in Bolivia has expressed its “firm wish” that “this situation be overcome quickly and that Bolivia’s traditional and excellent relations with all Member States and the European Union be restored. “
The Spanish diplomats expelled from Bolivia have been accused by the interim authorities of trying, together with the Mexican diplomat and a group of “hooded and presumably armed”, to transfer to one of the exalted positions of the government of former Bolivian president Evo Morales who are in the Mexican Embassy as asylees.
“[Spain and Mexico] clearly try to cover up and protect criminals who have committed crimes of sedition, armed uprising and terrorism,” said Áñez about it in the Palace of the Bolivian Congress.
Both Mexico and Spain have denied these accusations, noting that Spanish diplomats approached the residence of the Mexican ambassador “on a courtesy visit.” The Spanish Government has “emphatically” rejected any “hint of an alleged will to interfere in Bolivia’s internal political affairs”.
“For Spain, any statement in this regard constitutes a slander aimed at damaging our bilateral relations with false conspiracy theories.”