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LATIN AMERICA | 26-12-2019 15:19

Mexico vows to take Bolivia to court over Embassy spat

Government to take Bolivia to the International Court of Justice over what it calls harassment of its diplomatic mission in La Paz.

Mexico threatened Thursday to take Bolivia to the International Court of Justice (ICIJ) over what it calls harassment of its diplomatic mission in La Paz, after its Embassy took in some 20 officials from the former government.

The two countries have been in a spiralling spat since Mexico granted asylum to Bolivian ex-president Evo Morales after he resigned on November 10 in the face of mass protests and sheltered top officials from his leftist government at its Embassy.

Mexico accuses Bolivia of responding with a campaign of "harassment and intimidation" by deploying a large contingent of police and intelligence officers outside the embassy. It says that violates the 1961 Vienna Convention on the protected status of diplomatic missions.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said his staff would file a complaint later Thursday with the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

"We are simply proposing that the integrity of our diplomatic installations, which are Mexican territory, be respected and preserved... as well as that of the people inside," he said.

He called for the international community's help to resolve the diplomatic "emergency."

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that "not even [Augusto] Pinochet," the late Chilean dictator, had violated foreign diplomatic missions so egregiously during his regime's campaign to wipe out leftist opponents.

"Let's hope they think things over and respect the right to asylum," López Obrador, a leftist leader elected last year, told his daily news conference.

Bolivia's interim government says the security deployment is a response to "credible threats" of attack on the embassy.

Since right-wing interim president Jeanine Anez took over from Morales, the Bolivian authorities have issued arrest warrants for some of the ex-officials inside the Mexican embassy, accusing them of "sedition" and "terrorism" in connection with protest violence that killed 36 people.

Bolivia has been in turmoil since Morales, who had been in power since 2006, declared he won re-election to a fourth term in a vote that was marred by accusations of fraud.

Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, resigned after losing the army's backing and fled to Mexico, then Argentina.

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