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US-Bolivia talks to patch up frayed ties

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US-Bolivia talks to patch up frayed ties

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The United States and Bolivia have taken steps to patch up their battered relations. Washington sent the Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon to meet the left-wing President Evo Morales.

He is the highest ranking American official to visit La Paz since Morales kicked the US ambassador out last year, and accused the Bush administration of interfering in Bolivian affairs. Washington responded by expelling the Bolivian ambassador, and cut trading benefits for the country. President Morales said: “Relations should involve neither subordination nor political interference, but respect between the two countries.” Shannon himself said he was optimistic for a successful outcome fo the dialogue. America’s ambassador was expelled last September after right-wing opposition to President Morales turned violent. The government accused the envoy of stoking the unrest, and conspiring against Bolivian democracy, claims that the State Department in Washington called “baseless.”