Commenting on the turmoil here and in other Andean nations, the diplomats emphasized that Peru has remained largely peaceful and steered a course within a legal framework.
"What is important is that these nations have remained within constitutional parameters," said Peter Romero, the assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs. "We have confidence in the Peruvian people."
The U.S. delegation also withstood pointed questioning from the Peruvian media about Montesinos, who detonated the crisis. Peruvians blame the U.S. for propping up the spy chief during the 1990s despite longtime allegations involving the offenses for which he is now being investigated: ties to drug trafficking, gun-running and general corruption.
Montesinos had a close relationship with the CIA for years, according to former and current U.S. and Peruvian government officials. Moreover, former U.S. Embassy officials say top U.S. diplomats and law enforcement officials frequently enlisted the all-powerful spy chief to resolve problems related to the Peruvian justice system and interagency turf battles.
In response to questions, Romero said the U.S. tried to limit its ties with Montesinos to anti-drug cooperation.
"Our relationship with him has been public for years," Romero said. "It was above all related to the war on drugs. We distanced ourselves from other matters."
As for the fruitless monthlong hunt for Montesinos, Romero said the U.S. government is willing to assist in an international investigation if it receives such a request from Peru. He also indicated U.S. interest in getting to the bottom of a scandal that played a big role in Montesinos' political demise: allegations that the spy chief was involved in the smuggling of 10,000 AK-47 rifles to Colombian narco-guerrillas on flights that originated in Jordan.
"There are plenty of leads in Jordan, in Colombia and, of course, in Peru," Romero said.