Peru foreign minister quits over health after Venezuela spat: report

Reuters News
Posted: May 15, 2013 12:07 PM
Peru foreign minister quits over health after Venezuela spat: report

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru's foreign minister has resigned for health reasons, local media reported on Wednesday, days after he was criticized for contributing to a diplomatic spat with Venezuela.

Rafael Roncagliolo submitted his resignation to President Ollanta Humala citing "strictly health reasons" but did not specify his illness, the newspaper La Republica reported, quoting government sources.

The government and foreign ministry declined comment.

In early May, Roncagliolo called for "tolerance" in Venezuela and urged the South American bloc Unasur to push for mediation to calm political tensions in Caracas after a disputed election won by President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro complained that Roncagliolo was meddling in Venezuela's internal affairs by appearing to give voice to opposition leaders. Lima then softened its tone.

Humala was a friend and admirer of Maduro's political mentor, late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Peru's ambassador to Venezuela also resigned on May 8 after opposition lawmakers in Peru's Congress criticized comments he made in support of Maduro's government.

Earlier this month, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said Lima acted prematurely by asking Ecuador's ambassador in Peru to leave the country after he was involved in a scuffle with two women in a supermarket.

(Reporting By Omar Mariluz; Editing by Terry Wade and David Brunnstrom)