U.S. Concerned About Return of Peru's Ex-Spy Chief

Reuters -- 23 October 2000

WASHINGTON - The United States Monday expressed concern at the return to Peru of an ex-spy chief who set off Peru's worst political crisis in a decade.

Former Peruvian spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos left Ecuador for Peru shortly after the government unveiled its amnesty plan for military and government officials. Peruvian opposition leaders are outraged by the plan and Montesinos' return.

Montesinos, Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori (news - web sites)'s link to the military, fled to Panama a month ago when a video was aired of him apparently bribing an opposition lawmaker.

The corruption scandal centered on Montesinos prompted Fujimori to call early elections and promise to quit next July.

``We're concerned about this development and we continue to expect that President Fujimori will abide by the commitment that he made to step down and hold elections,'' White House spokesman Jake Siewert said.

``We don't know exactly why he is returning, and we're not clear on what his motivations are. It's probably a little too early to speculate on that. But the military said it will respect the constitutional order, and we've made clear that any move to disrupt the constitutional order will lead to Peru's isolation,'' Siewert said.