Taipei has expressed its respect for the transition of power in Paraguay to Asuncion as Ambassador Jose Maria Liu (劉德立) met Paraguayan President Federico Franco earlier this week following the ouster of his predecessor, Fernando Lugo, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
Lugo, whose coming to power in 2008 ended more than six decades of rule by the right-wing Colorado Party, was impeached by the Paraguayan Congress late last month over his handling of a land dispute that resulted in fatalities. Lugo was replaced by his vice president, Franco, a one-time ally turned Lugo critic.
Amid the political controversy that has resulted from the transition, Franco arranged a meeting with Liu on Tuesday, following a banquet hosted by Liu for Franco at his residence on June 29.
On both occasions, Liu told Franco that the Republic of China “respected” changes in its diplomatic ally made in line with “constitutional process” and with “[the] people’s willingness,” Jaime Wu (吳進木), director--general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, said by telephone yesterday.
Franco assured the ambassador he would maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan and discussed cooperative programs between the two countries, which both sides said would continue as planned during his tenure, Wu said.
The ministry said the banquet held for Franco was arranged long before the Paraguayan Congress voted to impeach Lugo.
The dismissal of Lugo provoked an outcry among Paraguay’s neighbors in South America, who said it was a coup d’etat, with some observers saying he was ousted because of his policy against allowing a new transgenic cotton seed made by US biotechnology giant Monsanto.
Some Western countries have recognized the new government and said that Franco has the legitimacy to lead the interim government until elections scheduled for April next year.