Mexico calls diplomatic meeting to protest Bolivian ‘harassment’


(The story corrects to say International Court of Justice instead of International Criminal Court after foreign minister corrected himself)

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday requested a meeting with Bolivia’s charge d’affaires to protest the “harassment and intimidation” of its diplomatic personnel in the Bolivian city La Paz.

Since Monday, Mexico has accused Bolivia of ramping up police presence outside its embassy and intimidating diplomats.

The spat follows a chill in relations after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador last month gave political asylum to former Bolivian president Evo Morales, a fellow leftist.

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said it called a meeting for Thursday so that the Bolivian charge d’affaires can “explain the behavior of Bolivian authorities,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added that nine people are being housed in diplomatic facilities in Bolivia under Mexico’s protection.

In a letter to Bolivia’s Foreign Ministry dated Tuesday, the Mexican embassy said the number of police officers surrounding its facilities had been increasing since November and that it detected surveillance drones over diplomatic buildings.

“More than protecting these sites and Mexican diplomatic personnel… they intimidate those staff and disrupt the peace and dignity of this diplomatic representation,” said the letter, released on Wednesday evening.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Michael Perry