Peru and Ecuador Resolve Incident by Appointing New Ambassadors

Ecuador’s ambassador to Peru has been withdrawn following a fight with two women at a supermarket in Lima that threatened to hurt relations between the two Andean nations.

Peru’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement that Ambassador Rodrigo Riofrio will not return to Peru. The Ministry also said that its ambassador to Ecuador, Javier Leon, has been reappointed to a high-level post in the ministry in Lima. It said Leon’s replacement will be named soon.

Riofrio and his wife got into a fight with a Peruvian woman and her daughter, while in line at a teller in an upscale supermarket in Lima’s Magdalena district two weeks ago. The incident occurred after Riofrio reportedly got upset when the women cut in line. The women say that he insulted them, which led the daughter to strike the ambassador.  A criminal complaint has been filed against the Peruvian women.

A security camera captured the incident, which showed Riofrio responding with punches and kicks.

Peru’s government had asked Ecuador to recall Riofrio after the fight, but Ecuador initially said it would not do so as the ambassador was the victim of an attack. Ecuador President Rafael Correa said that if Riofrio was not permitted to return to Peru, then the Peruvian Ambassador would not be welcome in Ecuador.

Both countries called their respective ambassadors back for consultation, leading international and local media to say that the fight had sparked a diplomatic crisis.  The final decision, however, was that both countries would appoint new ambassadors.

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