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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gestures as he visits the Camari market centre, where artisans and farmers showcase their products, in Quito, Ecuador October 19, 2021. ― Santiago Arcos/Pool via Reuters
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gestures as he visits the Camari market centre, where artisans and farmers showcase their products, in Quito, Ecuador October 19, 2021. ― Santiago Arcos/Pool via Reuters

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QUITO, Oct 20 ― Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso promised during talks yesterday to uphold “democratic” values during a state of emergency against drug trafficking, visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Operations need to be “very focused in what they are seeking to achieve and finite in duration and, of course, follow and proceed in a way that upholds democratic values,” Blinken told reporters.

Lasso “assured me that his government is committed to upholding all of those standards, which are so important to the Ecuadorian people,” Blinken said.

Blinken opened his first South America trip as secretary of state in Ecuador, hailing Lasso as a champion of democracy since the conservative businessman’s unexpected election earlier this year.

Just as Blinken was leaving, Lasso said he was sending troops and police to the streets to combat drug trafficking following a spate of violence.

Blinken said the state of emergency was not inconsistent with democracy.

“We very much understand that democracies at times need to take exceptional measures to ensure the safety and security of their citizens,” Blinken said.

Blinken promised that the United States would do its part by continuing to seek a reduction in demand for illegal drugs. ― AFP


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