Peru foreign minister resigns following US visit controversy

Peruvian Foreign Affairs Minister Ana Cecilia Gervasi attends a press conference

LIMA (Reuters) -Peru's foreign minister Ana Cecilia Gervasi resigned on Monday after less than a year, amid questions over how she handled President Dina Boluarte's visit last week to the United States.

Gervasi made no reference to Boluarte's U.S. trip in her resignation letter, which was seen by Reuters and other media. However, local news outlets reported that she was under pressure after failing to arrange a formal meeting between Boluarte and President Joe Biden.

Her resignation was confirmed by Prime Minister Alberto Otarola at a press conference, though he made no explicit reference to the U.S. trip. He said Gervasi's replacement could be announced on Tuesday.

Peru's ambassador to the U.S., Gustavo Meza Cuadra, also quit on Monday. In his resignation letter, he cited Boluarte's trip, stating he had been "responsible for preparing" it.

Instead of a bilateral meeting, Boluarte and Biden had a private conversation on the fringes of the Alliance for Economic Prosperity in the Americas summit in Washington, the foreign ministry has said.

Congress has summoned Gervasi to a hearing over why the formal itinerary for Boluarte's trip had alluded to a bilateral meeting that did not take place.

"It's regrettable that the government of Boluarte didn't tell the truth," opposition politician Jose Cueto said on social media platform X.

Gervasi said on X over the weekend that all the information submitted to Congress ahead of the trip had been truthful.

In her letter, Gervasi said she had completed the mandate assigned to her in December 2022 following the arrest of former President Pedro Castillo after he attempted to dissolve Congress.

Gervasi held various positions in government prior to joining Boluarte's cabinet, including deputy foreign minister, and vice minister of foreign trade.

Boluarte, who succeeded leftist Castillo after he was removed from office and arrested on charges of rebellion and conspiracy, has faced waves of violent protests since taking office. Castillo has always maintained his innocence.

The foreign ministry declined to comment on Gervasi's resignation.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Additional reporting by Isabel Woodford; Editing by Christian Plumb, Alison Williams and Rosalba O'Brien)