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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ecuador’s Economy minister quits

Oct 18, 2006

Ecuador's Economy Minister Armando Rodas resigned after disagreements with President Alfredo Palacio over the country's economic plan in the three months left in his term, ministry sources told Reuters late on Tuesday.

"Yes, minister Armando Rodas has resigned his post," a high ranking economy ministry official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Another ministry source said the resignation of Rodas, who took office in July, followed disagreements with Palacio over the economic plan before he leaves office in January.

Ecuadoreans will choose their next president in a Nov. 26 run-off between leftist Rafael Correa and conservative Alvaro Noboa after a tight Sunday election.

Rodas was the country's fourth economy minister since Palacio came to power on April of last year after his predecessor Lucio Gutierrez was toppled by popular turmoil.

Rodas was the author of a bill to create a special trust fund for revenues from the oil fields once operated by U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum Corp.

The fund, which Ecuador's Congress is debating, would use the cash to invest in the country's weakening energy sector. The ministry expects the country to receive up to $1.3 billion every year from the sale of crude extracted from Occidental's former fields.

Ecuador, one of South America's largest oil producers, terminated its contract Occidental and took over the company's fields in May after a long-running legal dispute.

From Reuters.

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