US will cut off anti-drug assistance to Ecuador

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Washington (AFP) - The United States will end decades of anti-drug trafficking assistance to Ecuador this month, pulling its staff from the INL office in the South American nation, a top official said.

"I am quite prepared to acknowledge right now the INL section, which has been in Ecuador now for more than 30 years, is also going to close up shop," Ambassador William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), told a congressional hearing.

He said the office staff would be out of Ecuador by the end of September. Brownfield did not say how many US staffers were in place there.

Brownfield said the move was a reflection of the level of cooperation the United States has right now from Ecuador.

Leftist economist President Rafael Correa, whom Washington has criticized for his links to Iran, Belarus and WikiLeaks figure Julian Assange -- has acknowledged there is an atmosphere of "mutual distrust" with the United States.

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