Brazilian foreign minister steps down amid tension

Rio De Janeiro, Aug 27: Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonia Patriota stepped down on Monday after a Bolivian opposition senator wanted for corruption fled homeland with the help of a Brazilian diplomat.

Patriota resigned after meeting with President Dilma Rousseff and was replaced by Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, head of the Brazilian mission to the United Nations, according to a statement from the president's office, Xinhua reported.

Brazilian foreign minister resigns

Earlier, Eduardo Saboia, a Brazilian diplomat stationed in Laz Paz, disclosed that he managed to successfully smuggle Roger Pinto, an opponent of Bolivian President Evo Morales, to Brazil after the latter was holed up for 15 months in the Brazilian embassy in Bolivia.

Pinto, who was accused by Bolivian authorities of corruption and other crimes, arrived in Brasilia Monday after being transported Friday from La Paz to the Brazilian border with an embassy car escorted by Brazilian marines.

The Bolivian government was outraged, saying the incident would hurt relations between the two neighbouring countries.

"What happened is serious, which is why we are demanding explanations from Brazil," Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca told reporters Monday

Pinto, a right wing politician, had blamed Morales for corruption, as part of what the Bolivian government called as a smear plot against the president.

Facing a corruption investigation himself, he then sought asylum at the Brazilian embassy, which was granted in June 2012.

After Pinto's flight, Patriota had recalled Saboia to Brazil for an investigation into the incident. He also vowed to take disciplinary actions if necessary.


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