Wed, Jun 20, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Taipei urges Panama to accept envoy

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Taipei yesterday once again urged Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli to accept the credentials of Ambassador Diego Chou (周麟), who has not been able to complete the accreditation process five months after assuming the position.

Panamanian Ambassador to Taiwan Jose Antonio Pereziranzo was finally able to present his credentials to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on May 16, said Jaime Wu (吳進木), director-general of the Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We have held out our hands in good faith and friendship [to Panama],” in the hopes that Chou’s situation in Panama City, which is similar to the dilemma Pereziranzo faced in Taipei, could be resolved “at the earliest possible time,” Wu said in response to media inquiries at a regular news briefing.

Pereziranzo, who was made ambassador in February, was unable to meet with Ma until the ministry arranged for Ma to accept his credentials on May 16.

The delay in the presentation of Pereziranzo’s credentials to Ma, which Wu said was “unusual,” was in response to Martinelli’s delayed acceptance of Chou’s credentials because of discontent over a private meeting between Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) and Panamanian Vice President Juan Carlos Varela, leader of the opposition Panamenista Party.

Yang met with Varela when they were in Guatemala for a presidential inauguration in January, causing what the ministry called a “misunderstanding” on the part of Martinelli, who believed that Yang was meddling in Panama’s internal politics.

Wu said the ministry had yet to receive a response by Martinelli to a private letter from Yang explaining the misunderstanding.

Although Panamanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Roberto Henriquez has repeatedly dismissed media speculation over problems in Taiwan-Panama bilateral relations, the ministry “has been in active negotiations with Panama” over the matter, Wu said.

According to Article 13 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Chou is technically considered to have taken up his functions because he delivered a copy of his credentials to the receiving country, Wu said.

However, because Chou has been unable to present his credentials to Martinelli, he will be disallowed from attending functions hosted by the president, Wu said.

Yang summoned Pereziranzo two weeks ago to discuss the matter and asked for his help in resolving the misunderstanding, he said.

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