Ecuador and Peru have decided to reassign their ambassadors in a bid to resolve a diplomatic crisis that broke out when the Ecuadoran envoy got into a fight with two women in a supermarket checkout line.
Peru had asked Ecuador to recall Ambassador Rodrigo Riofrio over the April 21 skirmish, even after the ambassador apologized, though he insisted he did not start the scuffle.
Ecuador's foreign ministry late Monday announced that the envoy was being removed from his post, saying the decision had come at the request of Riofrio himself, who would be assigned to another post.
"With this decision, Ecuador reiterates its willingness to work hard for the continued strengthening of excellent bilateral relations," it said.
Minutes later, Peru announced that its ambassador to Ecuador, Javier Leon, would also be reassigned to a "high office" in the ministry.
Both countries praised their envoys, an indication that the moves were part of a coordinated diplomatic ballet to resolve the spat while saving face.
Riofrio had admitted getting into a fight -- backed up by his wife -- with two women he said tried to cut in front of him in a store in Lima, but denied having started the fight.
Cristina Castro, one of the women who tried to cut in front of the ambassador, along with her daughter, said she backed off when he said he was there first.
But the ambassador kept at it and started insulting Peru as a country of ignorant people, doomed and "full of Indians," Castro told DiaD television.
Castro's daughter intervened in her defense and punches started flying, Castro said.
The ambassador broke Castro's glasses and struck her daughter with a magazine, and the ambassador's wife eventually jumped into the fray. Riofrio even kicked the woman and her daughter, Castro said.