Peru's Castillo picks career diplomat as new foreign minister

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Peru's new President Pedro Castillo addresses the law makers and invitees during the Inauguration Day at the Congress in Lima, Peru July 28, 2021. Peru's Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

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LIMA, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Career diplomat Oscar Maurtua was sworn in as Peru's new foreign minister on Friday to replace a leftist professor who resigned just weeks into the job over controversial comments he made before taking the role.

Maurtua already served as foreign minister in the early 2000s under centrist President Alejandro Toledo, and will now serve the far-left administration led by Pedro Castillo, a former elementary school teacher.

His appointment is crucial to Castillo's political future, as his Cabinet will face a confirmation vote from the opposition-led Congress before the end of the month. He was sworn in during a ceremony at the government headquarters that was broadcast on state television, without further government comment.

Maurtua replaces Hector Bejar, who resigned under intense pressure because of comments he made before taking the minister job that resurfaced in recent days. He had said last year that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency was partly responsible for the creation of Maoist rebel group Shining Path.

Maurtua has also served as Peruvian ambassador to several countries, including Canada and Thailand.

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Reporting by Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Sandra Maler

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