Brazil, Bolivia promise cooperation

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Meeting yesterday at Itamaraty, Brazil's Foreign Ministry, Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva outlined plans for broad cooperation between the two countries during Morales' upcoming term in office, which begins on the 22nd of this month. Lula's special assistant for International Issues, Marco Aurélio Garcia, mentioned in particular that Bolivia might be interested in development of its petroleum resources with the help of Brazil's Petrobras, as well as in increasing social programs and seeking to deepen its relationship with other governments.

According to Garcia, there are plans to form a bilateral commission to guide cooperation between the two nations in the coming years.

Public statements from the two leaders have characterized the meeting in glowing terms. After the talks, Morales described a "relationship of brotherhood," saying that he looks forward to the help of Brazil, whom Morales says, "leads the region." Asked about whether the close bonds between the growing number of leftist governments in Latin America constitued the development of an anti-United States counterweight in the region, Morales responded, "We are for a culture of dialogue...We are not going to create a bloc against the U.S."