Rodriguez Mackay resigns after President Pedro Castillo revokes recognition of the self-styled Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

Dimite el ministro de Exteriores de Perú tras ser desautorizado por Castillo sobre el dosier del Sáhara Occidental

photo_camera PERUVIAN PRESIDENCY/ALBERTO ORBEGOSO - Peruvian President Pedro Castillo delivering a speech during his symbolic presidential inauguration ceremony in Pampa de la Quinua in Ayacucho, southern Peru, 29 July 2021

Peru's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Mackay, has presented his "irrevocable" resignation as head of the Ministry after a series of public clashes with President Pedro Castillo, with whom he had profound disagreements over the direction Peruvian diplomacy should take, especially over the Western Sahara dispute, the reason that finally ended up dynamiting their relationship. 

He is the fourth foreign minister to leave office during the leftist leader's presidency. He was preceded by other figures such as former guerrilla Héctor Béjar, the diplomat Óscar Maúrtua de Romaña, also Foreign Minister in the government of former President Alejandro Toledo, and the jurist César Landa. The difference in profiles, which are completely dissimilar, and the constant changes have highlighted the lack of planning in Peruvian foreign policy.

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The leftist leader, who came to power in July 2021 on the back of the Marxist party Perú Libre - from which he was expelled a year later after falling out with its leadership - has been forced to reshuffle the government practically without interruption since he came to power in the House of Pizarro. In this period, more than fifty ministers have paraded through a cabinet in permanent crisis, surrounded by accusations of corruption. 

Rodríguez Mackay had only been appointed on 5 August, making him the head of the foreign ministry for barely a month and a week. Nevertheless, he is not the longest-serving Peruvian diplomat in the Castillo government. That title is still held by Héctor Béjar, whose stay at the ministry lasted no more than three weeks. 

"The objective was to revitalise Peru's foreign policy, correct mistakes and try to strengthen the course of our country's international life," the former foreign minister told President Castillo in a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry. The resignation came days after the leftist leader disavowed Rodríguez Mackay's statements in which he announced the diplomatic rupture with the self-styled Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). Last Thursday Castillo wrote on Twitter that he reaffirmed the "self-determination" of Western Sahara. 

"One year after establishing diplomatic relations with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, we reaffirm our persistence in defending its sovereign self-determination", the president said, barely three weeks after Rodríguez Mackay's resignation formalised the Peruvian state's withdrawal of recognition of the SADR and the severance of "all relations with this entity" following a conversation with Morocco's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Nasser Bourita. 

The head of Moroccan diplomacy then thanked the Andean country for respecting "the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco and its national sovereignty". But Lima's position on the Western Sahara dispute is changeable - though not only during Castillo's presidency - and it decided to revoke the announcement of its own foreign minister. Morocco, for its part, has not taken a position.

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra. 

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