Bolivia’s left-wing President Evo Morales said on Monday he wanted improved ties with the incoming U.S. administration of Barack Obama but ruled out having U.S. anti-drug agents resume work under his rule.
“My interest is how to improve relations with the new president,” Morales told a news conference after addressing the U.N. General Assembly. “I think we could have a lot of things in common.
By Patrick Worsnip
Bolivian president Evo Morales participates in a news conference after he addressed the U.N. General Assembly, at United Nations Headquarters, in New York, November 17, 2008.REUTERS/Chip East
“If we talk about change I have some experience now,” he said, referring to the Obama presidential campaign‘s slogans based on the need for change. “I think it would be good to share experiences with the new president-elect.”
Morales, the first Indian to become Bolivian president, compared himself with Obama as the first black to win the U.S. presidency. He said better relations had to be based on “respect from one government to another.”
He also ruled out reversing his November 1 move barring U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents from fighting cocaine traffickers in his country. Morales had accused them of spying and maintaining ties with anti-government groups that staged violent protests in September. Washington denied the charge.
“The DEA will not return whilst I am still president,” Morales said, speaking in Spanish through an interpreter.
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