WASHINGTON — The United States has decided to expel the Ecuadorean ambassador to Washington, retaliating for Ecuador’s expulsion of the U.S. ambassador there earlier this week, a U.S. official said on Thursday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United States had canceled planned bilateral talks in June. While it wanted a positive relationship, the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador in Quito would have to be taken into account, he said. The OPEC member demanded on Tuesday that U.S. envoy Heather Hodges leave, declaring her persona non grata because of U.S. diplomatic cables reporting alleged police corruption that were released by WikiLeaks.
“The unjustified action of the Ecuadorean government to declare Ambassador Hodges persona non grata left us no other option than this reciprocal action,” the U.S. official said. “The United States is interested in a positive relationship with Ecuador but the regrettable and unwarranted decision to declare ambassador Hodges persona non grata will have to be taken into account going forward,” he said.