First woman takes FM helmet in Peru

First woman takes FM helmet in Peru

LIMA – Agence France-Presse
First woman takes FM helmet in Peru

Peru’s new FM Rivas takes office ahead of landmark The Hague’s ruling. REUTERS photo

Former justice minister Eda Rivas took the oath of office May 15 as Peru’s foreign minister, becoming the first woman to hold the top diplomatic post.

President Ollanta Humala administered the oath to Rivas, 61, in a televised ceremony at Peru’s government palace. Rivas replaces Rafael Roncagliolo, who resigned following diplomatic spats with Ecuador and Venezuela.

Diplomacy crisis

On May 3 Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro told Roncagliolo to “not get involved in Venezuela’s internal affairs” when the latter announced that Peru would hold a summit to urge Caracas to talk with their political opposition, which challenged the results of the April 14 presidential election. Regarding Ecuador, two women claimed they were accosted by Quito’s ambassador to Lima, Rodrigo Riofrio, at a city supermarket. Peru demanded that Ecuador withdraw Riofrio, but Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa refused. Both countries withdrew ambassadors, and the situation was resolved when Ecuador relented and named a new envoy.

Rivas takes office ahead of one of the most important events in the South American country’s foreign policy in decades: the International Court of Justice in The Hague’s ruling on a lawsuit Peru filed in 2008 against Chile over their maritime border. Rivas’s tenure as justice minister included accepting a petition for pardon from Alberto Fujimori, the ex-Peruvian leader serving a 25-year prison sentence for human rights abuses.