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article imageUN clashes with Guatemala over anti-corruption commission

By AFP     Jan 7, 2019 in World

The United Nations was on a collision course with Guatemala on Monday after the Central American country announced it was pulling out of an agreement on an anti-corruption commission that has set its sights on President Jimmy Morales.

Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during a meeting at UN headquarters that the mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) would end in 24 hours.

But the UN chief said in a statement that he "strongly rejects" the decision, adding that the government must abide by the international deal.

"Within 24 hours, the agreement will be terminated by the Guatemalan government with the United Nations," the foreign minister told a press conference.

The commission has been carrying out investigations since 2007 but has been increasingly at odds with Morales's government after it began probing the president's campaign financing.

The president's son and brother have been accused of tax fraud as a result of the commission's investigation and are awaiting trial.

"The mandate of the commission is set to end on 3 September 2019," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric in a statement.

"Until that date, we expect the government of Guatemala to entirely fulfill its legal obligations under the agreement."

At the news conference in New York, Jovel accused the commission of "interference" and said Guatemala was defending its sovereignty by scrapping the investigative body.

Morales has barred the head of the commission, Colombian prosecutor Ivan Velasquez, from entering Guatemala.

A member of the commission was detained at the airport on Saturday but finally allowed into the country some 24 hours later.

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