Bolivian Foreign Affairs Minister: we seek to improve our bilateral relationship with Peru

Bolivian Foreign Affairs Minister David Choquehuanca said that he is to meet privately with his Peruvian counterpart José Antonio García Belaunde this week during the Mercosur presidential summit in Paraguay, in hopes of “improving bilateral relations with Peru.”

“We are more than willing to improve bilateral relations with Peru,” said Choquehuanca, days after García told the press that Peru was “ready to move on and focus on reaffirming a relationship between neighbors and brothers.”

In additions to the four presidents from Mercosur’s full members – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and host Paraguay – leaders and representatives from Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Mexico and Venezuela will be also be present for the presidential summit scheduled to begin on July 23, 2009.

Peru-Bolivia relations have been stained by numerous diplomatic spats over the past few years.

Last month, shortly after Bolivia’s Evo Morales applauded Peru’s decision to review legislation aimed to open up the Peruvian Amazon to more foreign investment, and to repeal the controversial decrees that lead to strikes, highway blockades and, ultimately, a deadly clash between police and demonstrators the Bagua province of Amazonas, Morales called Peru President Alan García “one of the world’s worst presidents,” along with former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Morales also referred to the deadly June 5, 2009, clashes in Bagua as “genocide,” prompting Peru to recall its ambassador to Bolivia for consultations.

In June 2007, Morales called García “very fat and not very anti-imperialist” after Peru delivered a letter of protest to Bolivia over Morales’ allegation that Peru’s demand for the extradition of his former adviser Walter Chávez was a CIA conspiracy being used to discredit his leftist administration.

Then, in July, days after recalling his ambassador from Bolivia, Garcia sharply told his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales, to butt out of Peru’s domestic affairs in reply to the Bolivian leader’s call for Peruvians to protest the alleged establishment of United States military bases on Peruvian soil.

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