LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales’ government will present a formal complaint to Peru over its plans to drill for oil in Lake Titicaca without consulting La Paz, state-run news agency ABI reported.
Hydrocarbons Minister Oscar Coca sent Bolivia’s Foreign Ministry a note requesting that a formal complaint be made since the body of water straddles the border between the two nations, ABI said.
“Since Lake Titicaca is a bi-national area, it’s obvious that there can’t be unilateral actions” and therefore the matter requires a diplomatic solution, Coca said.
The governor of La Paz province, Pablo Ramos, expressed concern Tuesday about reports from Peru indicating the government in Lima had signed oil exploration and drilling contracts with foreign companies in the Lake Titicaca basin.
A daily in Puno, a Peruvian city near the border with Bolivia, also reported this week that President Alan Garcia’s government signed the deal in April without consulting regional authorities and residents of that municipality.
Coca recalled Thursday that Bolivia and Peru set up an entity to jointly manage the lake and said that body should have the final say about the possibility of oil drilling in Titicaca.
“Independent of the oil issue, it bears mentioning that the lake is one of the wonders of the world that must be preserved as is,” Coca said.
Lake Titicaca occupies more than 8,500 square kilometers (3,280 square miles) and serves as a natural border between Bolivia and Peru. EFE