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Last Updated: Monday, 25 April, 2005, 21:10 GMT 22:10 UK
Ecuador president defends sacking
Alfredo Palacio
Mr Palacio said he wanted to restore people's faith in politicians
Ecuador's new president Alfredo Palacio has defended the legitimacy of his government after his predecessor Lucio Gutierrez was deposed last week.

He said Congress's decision to sack Mr Gutierrez was constitutional and that he planned to serve out the ex-leader's term in office, which ends in 2007.

So far, no Latin American nations have recognised the new government.

Mr Gutierrez was given asylum in Brazil against the wishes of the Ecuadorean government, which wanted him arrested.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Antonio Parra Gil confirmed they would still request his extradition but did not criticise Brazil for granting asylum.

Mr Palacio has said his government will respect all international agreements.

"Ecuador will be a country that respects absolutely all its commitments without restriction," he said.


A week of intense diplomacy over Ecuador is beginning in the region.

Lucio Gutierrez

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to discuss the crisis when she starts a tour of Latin America in Brazil on Tuesday.

Mr Palacio is due to meet the US ambassador to Ecuador and a delegation from the Organization of American States is on its way.

Both the US and OAS are said to be concerned by the way Congress ousted Mr Gutierrez, who claims it acted illegally in firing him.

Mr Gutierrez has been accused by the new government of acting as a dictator in recent months.


Mr Gutierrez is the third president in eight years to be brought down by street protests.

The new president takes office at a time when the public's faith in politicians is rock-bottom, says the BBC's Hannah Hennessy in Quito.

Mr Palacio says he believes most people in Ecuador are content now, but admits his government has to fight a psychological war to restore faith to the people.

But, he warned, those who threaten democracy or peace in Ecuador will be punished.

As he gave his first press conference inside Quito's government palace, around 80 people protested outside.

Watched over by armed police, they waved banners urging Mr Palacio to sack Congress, accusing its members of being corrupt.

Protests are growing in Quito

Ecuador ex-head flies into exile
24 Apr 05 |  Americas
Q&A: Ecuador's latest upheaval
24 Apr 05 |  Americas
Ex-Ecuador leader granted asylum
21 Apr 05 |  Americas
Ex-Ecuador president seeks asylum
21 Apr 05 |  Americas
Ecuador Congress sacks president
20 Apr 05 |  Americas

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