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Bolivia welcomes foreign investment
President tries to allay fears over nationalisation plans.
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2009 02:00 GMT
King Juan Carlos, left, met Morales
in Madrid on Monday [EPA]

Bolivia is ready to accept outside investment in its energy and natural resource industries as long as foreign firms do not act as owners, the country's president has said.

Evo Morales' comments in the Spanish capital Madrid come as he tries to allay concerns over his plan to nationalise the Bolivian electricity sector, which could hit several Spanish firms in the country.

"Companies that respect Bolivian norms will be welcomed," Morales told a meeting of business representatives, politicians and journalists on Monday.

"We're looking for investment, be it from private or state sector. We want partners, not owners of our natural resources."

Morales, who met King Juan Carlos of Spain on Monday, is expected to hold formal talks with Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister, on Tuesday.

Colombia ties

The Bolivian leader said that relations between La Paz and Spanish energy companies have been positive, and added that Bolivia will try to negotiate with Spanish and European companies to produce car parts and lithium batteries.

Morales also spoke about Colombia's agreement with the US government to allow US troops to use military bases in the country.

He called the deal a move by Washington to interfere in the Latin American region, echoing comments by Hugo Chavez, his Venezuelan counterpart.

But Bolivia does not intend to sever relations with Colombia or the United States over the deal, he said.

"Bolivia is not going to break off relations with anyone, not the United States," he said.

"Nobody can prevent us having relationships with other countries."

Source:
Agencies
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