May 23, 2013
Peruvian opposition divided after Humala cancels British frigate permit
Political and media sectors in Peru harshly criticized Peruvian Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo for his last-minute decision to void a permit allowing a British frigate to dock at the El Callao port.
Lawmaker Lourdes Alcorta deemed the decision as “impertinent and foolish,” while the right-wing group Fuerza 2011 was said to be considering making a constitutional accusation.
The Congressional Defence Committee summoned Roncagliolo and Defence Minister Luis Alberto Otálora for explanations. Media outlets were demanding for the Foreign Minister to resign, and accused him of contradictions.
The arrival of the HMS Montrose was scheduled for Thursday and was backed by the Congress’ permission per the Executive branch’s request.
However following Argentina’s protests regarding the Malvinas Islands sovereignty, the Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that the permit was now void.
“This decision was made as a display of the Latin America solidarity adopted by the Union of South American Nations bloc regarding Argentina’s legitimate rights in the sovereignty dispute,” the communiqué stated.
But center-right lawmaker Carlos Bruce doesn't agree.
“That two countries hold a controversy does not mean that we must break relations with either of them," he said.
Foreign Minister Roncagliolo justified the decision while addressing reporters and said that the UK Ministry of State for Foreign Affairs, Jeremy Browne, was told of the measure during his visit to Lima on Friday.
The UK embassy in Lima said in a communiqué that it regretted that Browne was not informed of the decision during his visit and stressed the fact that “Great Britain is committed to the islanders right of self-determination and that will not change.”
Defence Committee members Bruce and Johnny Lescano assured Roncagliolo not only made a mistake, but that he "overstepped the limits of the Constitution" as well.
Roncagliolo, a 67 year old sociologist who is the only member of President Ollanta Humala’s cabinet with left-leaning ideas, is questioned by certain sectors that accuse him of not being qualified for the post.