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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ecuador President Sacks Defense Minister

Quito, Apr 9 (Prensa Latina) Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa removed Defense Minister Wellington Sandoval, and appointed his private secretary Javier Ponce to occupy that position, government sources confirmed on Wednesday.

The new minister will take up his post Wednesday noon at the Carondelet Palace, the presidential headquarters, the sources said.

Sandoval was removed from his position after the crisis unleashed in the Armed Forces, due to Correa's denunciation, saying that the Ecuadorian espionage services have been taken by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The president demanded urgent changes in that authority to finish the national intelligence submission to the CIA.

This dismissal also happened amid a request by the top military command of a dialogue with the president, and a warning about supposed risks of instability in the country.

A statement by the military leadership shows concern about publication of some information by the national media, about relations of the military institution with foreign entities and nations.

The Armed Force Joint Command leader, Gen. Hector Camacho and commanders of the Ground, Naval, and Air Forces said the dialogue with the head of State will allow avoiding putting the national security and stability at risk, the note revealed.

Before being Correa's secretary, the new minister worked as feature writer for the Hoy daily and has written several books

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