US asks El Salvador to take its relationship to the ‘next level’ after tensions

The United States suggested on Wednesday that El Salvador work together to take its relationship to the “next level,” after tensions arose after Washington questioned the independence of the judiciary in Najib Bukele’s government.

“We have created a very ambitious program of work for the coming weeks and months, to strengthen our relationship, and I have full confidence that if we implement it (…) we will take this relationship to the next level, for the good of our people and the region,” commented the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs , Victoria Noland.

Noland finished a Latin American tour in El Salvador on Wednesday, which also took her to Paraguay and Panama. He stressed that “El Salvador is a vital partner in the region on all fronts,” and that the relationship is of importance to Washington.

Nuland’s visit to San Salvador comes nearly two months after the Salvadoran Congress, which is dominated by allies of President Bukele, removed the Constitutional Court judges and the attorney general, appointed by the previous government.

These events aroused international condemnation, led by the United States, and from sectors of the opposition denounced the anger at the separation of powers.

Even US Vice President Kamala Harris has warned that Washington must respond to the action. Days later, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided civil society funds that it was giving to some Salvadoran state institutions.

At that time, Bukele demanded that the independence of Parliament’s decisions be respected, as they were in accordance with the law, and emphasized that the changes were “irreversible.”

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Nuland, like other US officials who visited El Salvador recently, considered it important for the country to have an “independent judiciary” and that the mechanisms in place to elect officials such as the attorney general are based on a “transparent process.”

The US official also noted “the need to create an independent corruption watchdog” to replace the Organization of American States (OAS)’s International Commission to Combat Impunity and Corruption (CICIES) with which the Bukele government entered into a contract in early June.

Currently, the Bukele government is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund a financing of 1300 million to meet its budget needs.

Nuland stressed that the United States is “extremely interested in helping” El Salvador complete its negotiations, which should be “based on best financial practices.”

ob / mav / lda

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