UN’s Guterres reiterates support for envoy in Guatemala

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday he continues to fully support the head of a U.N. anti-corruption commission in Guatemala despite the attempt by the president of that country to expel him.

Guterres said he was shocked by President Jimmy Morales’ order to remove Ivan Velasquez. Speaking at a news conference in Ramallah, West Bank, the U.N. chief noted he had met with Morales just days before and said that while the Guatemalan leader had expressed concerns, he didn’t ask for Velasquez’s removal.

Guterres praised the commission’s work in helping Guatemalan prosecutors attack corruption, a campaign that has proved popular in the Central American nation.

Guatemala’s Constitutional Court suspended Morales’ order Sunday so it could study the legality of the action.

The president issued his expulsion order two days after Velasquez and Guatemala’s chief prosecutor announced they were seeking to lift Morales’ immunity from prosecution in order to investigate alleged illegal campaign financing.