Guatemala President Could Still Attend Americas Summit, Minister Says

Guatemala President Could Still Attend Americas Summit, Minister Says

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei could still attend the Summit of the Americas next month, his foreign minister said Thursday, barely a week after the leader said he would not be going to the U.S.-hosted gathering in Los Angeles.

Giammattei said on May 17 that he would not attend the June 6-10 summit, speaking a day after the United States criticized his government for reappointing its attorney general, who Washington has accused of corruption.

However, Foreign Minister Mario Bucaro told Reuters the United States was not attempting to impose "conditions" over the appointment of judicial officials and that the government was still awaiting news on whether Giammattei would go.

"The country will definitely be represented by the Guatemalan delegation ... but we're also awaiting confirmation from the president to see if he'll be able to attend," he said.

Bucaro stressed that the Central American country had a good relationship with the United States, its primary trade partner, and said Guatemala had listened to its concerns.

"What we're not going to allow is for there to be direct interference, and for the sovereignty of the country to be affected, something that isn't negotiable for the United States nor for Guatemala," Bucaro said.

U.S. State Department officials have strongly criticized Guatemala for keeping Consuelo Porras as attorney general, along with expressing concern over what it calls persecution of human rights activists and journalists in the country.

The foreign minister emphasized that Guatemala had a broad-based relationship with Washington, pointing to cooperation on security and saying that the country was in the process of extraditing more than 60 drug traffickers to the United States.