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US says it “looks forward” to working with Peru’s new president

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on political actors in Peru to ease tensions and seek “reconciliation.”

Washington “looks forward to working closely” on shared goals with newly appointed Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, US President Joe Biden’s administration said after senior US diplomat Antony Blinken spoke by phone with the embattled South American leader.

The US State Department confirmed the talks between Blinken and Boluarte on Sunday as unrest continues in Peru following the ouster of President Pedro Castillo earlier this month. The call had taken place two days earlier.

“Secretary Blinken encouraged Peru’s civil institutions and authorities to redouble their efforts to carry out the necessary reforms and safeguard democratic stability,” the State Department said in a statement.

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Boluarte was sworn in by Peru’s congress to replace Castillo on December 7 after lawmakers removed the former president, who had announced plans to “temporarily” dissolve congress and rule by decree in what he said was an effort to “restore the rule of law”. and democracy”.

Boluarte previously served as vice president to Castillo, who was arrested on rebellion and conspiracy charges after he was ousted. On Thursday, a Peruvian court extended the preventive detention of the leftist leader to 18 months.

Castillo had faced multiple crises during his brief tenure as president. Sworn in in July 2021, the teacher and union leader from rural Peru faced allegations of corruption, a dismal approval rating and a dead legislative agenda thwarted by an opposition-dominated Congress.

Now Boluarte faces his own crisis as protesters demand his resignation.

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Blinken’s call with Boluarte came amid political chaos and ongoing anti-government protests calling for early elections and Castillo’s release.

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“The United States looks forward to working closely with President Boluarte on shared goals and values ​​related to democracy, human rights, security, anti-corruption, and economic prosperity,” the State Department said.

“Secretary Blinken stressed the need for all Peruvian stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue to ease political divisions and focus on reconciliation.”

In a national speech on Saturday, Boluarte called on Congress to authorize early elections “in line” with the demands of the Peruvian people.

Boluarte’s government had declared a state of emergency across the country on Wednesday, suspending freedom of movement and assembly in an attempt to quell the unrest, which has left several people dead.

Earlier this week, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized the move and called for respect for human rights and civil liberties in Peru.

“Force must not be used, the people must not be repressed and freedoms must be guaranteed,” López Obrador said during a press conference.

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