Peru withdraws ambassador to Chile in espionage row

Peru withdraws ambassador to Chile in espionage row
Lima recalled Ambassador Fernando Rojas Samanez on Feb 20 after it accused Chile of espionage.

Peru announced Saturday it has withdrawn its ambassador in Santiago to protest alleged espionage by Chile.

Relations soured between the two countries late last month after Peru claimed Chile paid three members of the Peruvian navy to spy on their own nation.

Peru's foreign ministry announced the withdrawal of the ambassador in a statement, saying he would not return until Chile provided necessary assurances over the incident.

Lima recalled Ambassador Fernando Rojas Samanez on February 20 after it made the claims against Chile and detained the alleged spies. In a first protest note, Peru claimed the military members were paid for spying by Chile between 2005 and 2012.

The letter demanded a prompt investigation into the spying and called for assurances that the espionage not be repeated. In a second letter of protest issued Saturday, Peru said it "reiterates its firm rejection and deep concern" over the "actions of espionage by Chile."

"This is Peru's sovereign decision to make" if it so chooses, Chile's Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said. "We cannot comment (about Peru's diplomatic notes).

After reviewing them, we will comment at the appropriate time." Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said that her ambassador to Lima, Roberto Ibarra, would stay in Chile's capital for a few days "to respond to this new (diplomatic) note."

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