Ecuador Indigenous Organization Ends Talks with Government, Calls for Lasso Resignation

 Leonidas Iza, leader of Ecuador's indigenous organization CONAIE, and leaders of the indigenous nationalities of the Sierra, the coast and the Amazon celebrate, on the day of a meeting held by Ecuador's top indigenous organization CONAIE along with other campaign groups to discuss a date for new protests against the government of President Guillermo Lasso, in Quito, Ecuador February 24, 2023. REUTERS/Karen Toro
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QUITO, Feb 24 (Reuters) – A major Ecuadorean Indigenous organization said on Friday it will not continue talks with the government of President Guillermo Lasso, saying the government has not complied with accords, and called for Lasso’s resignation over alleged corruption.

The government has said it reached dozens of accords with the CONAIE indigenous organization, including a temporary moratorium on oil blocks in the Amazon and suspension of new mining concessions in ancestral territory until community consultation laws can be passed.

CONAIE agreed last year agreed to end weeks of protests in exchange for negotiations on the deals, but said on Friday Lasso has not kept his word.

“CONAIE breaks this process of dialogue and retires from monitoring efforts,” its president Leonidas Iza told journalists after meeting with other Indigenous groups. “It is evident there does not exist the political will from the government to comply.”

Iza said the organizations are calling for Lasso to leave office and asking lawmakers to hold impeachment proceedings, but stopped short of calling for national protests.

“Mr. Guillermo Lasso for the dignity of our country, for your inability to govern and resolve the most important problems of Ecuadoreans, present your resignation,” Iza said.

It was not immediately possible to reach the government for comment.

Lasso has clashed repeatedly with the opposition-controlled national assembly, where some lawmakers tried to oust him during the 2022 demonstrations.

He has promised to improve the economy and fight rising crime, but though his government has renegotiated oil deals and some debt, efforts to make security reforms failed to get voter backing in a recent referendum.

  Prosecutors raided offices at state oil company Petroecuador and an office at the presidency earlier this month as part of an investigation into alleged graft. Lasso’s office has said it has zero tolerance for corruption.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Kim Coghill
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