LA PAZ – Bolivia will resume its “good relations” with the United States, President Evo Morales said Tuesday during a meeting with the top U.S. diplomat in La Paz, though neither party offered a date for when the two countries will again be represented by ambassadors in their respective capitals.
The president said at Government Palace that the United States is improving its relations with Cuba and Iran, and that Bolivia cannot remain outside this “very important” international political context.
“We’re here to resume good relations with the United States government,” Morales told reporters in a joint appearance with U.S. charge d’affaires Peter Brennan.
Relations have been maintained at the level of charges d’affaires since September 2008, when Morales expelled U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, accusing him of conspiring with the opposition, a charge that Washington has always denied.
Washington responded by doing the same to Bolivian envoy Gustavo Guzman.
Morales said Tuesday that both countries will analyze a future reinstatement of ambassadors and asked that the process of improving trade relations be speeded up starting immediately.
“It was a very important talk,” he said. “It is our first meeting in a very long time and we’re resuming (contact) at the request of the United States Embassy.
Brennan said that “mutual interests” exist to improve relations and noted that progress has been made in the trade sector.
The diplomat also spoke of progress in cooperation on climate change and environmental conservation projects, for example on Lake Titicaca, shared by Bolivia and Peru.
He added that he will make every effort to continue expanding bilateral relations so they will be “considerably” improved by 2016.
As the meeting neared its end, Morales also reminded Brennan of the requests still pending for judicial cooperation in the extradition of Bolivians who face charges in their homeland.
One of those cases involves former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, who is charged with murder in connection with the killings of dozens of protesters by security forces in 2003.
In a later statement to the media, Brennan said that no date has yet been set for the return of the ambassadors to their respective posts, and that it is a matter to be analyzed step by step, and will hopefully be achieved.
About Sanchez de Lozada, he said that Bolivia’s request is in the hands of the U.S. judicial system.