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Ecuador Negotiates with Free Trade Agreement Protesters


Ecuador's government has begun negotiations with members of an indigenous peoples' organization demonstrating against free trade talks with the United States.

Government representative Felipe Vega began meeting with ethnic Indian representatives late Tuesday, as the demonstrators continued their blockades of roads leading to the capital, Quito.

Wednesday is the third consecutive day of protests, and demonstrators say they will continue until the government withdraws from talks on the trade deal. Those talks covers a range of topics, from agriculture to intellectual property rights.

The demonstrators say the trade pact will put them at a disadvantage with U.S. farmers and further disrupt Indian culture.

Ecuador, along with Colombia and Peru, began free trade talks with the United States in May 2004. Colombia and Peru already have signed deals with Washington.

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