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Bolivian Leader Seeks Sharp Increase in Price of Natural Gas Exports


Bolivia's President Evo Morales says he wants to raise natural gas prices by nearly 60 percent for exports to Brazil and Argentina, which rely heavily on Bolivian gas.

Mr. Morales says the price increase will bring in an extra $600 million to the Bolivian government.

His remarks come one week after he ordered soldiers to production facilities to forcibly nationalize Bolivia's energy sector.

In Brazil Monday, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reassured Brazilians that Bolivia's nationalization will not result in gas shortages in his country.

He also said Brazil will not retaliate against Bolivia, but instead will negotiate with its neighbor to reach an agreement on contracts and prices.

After a summit last Thursday, Mr. Morales and the leaders of Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela issued a statement affirming Bolivia's "sovereign right" to control its natural resources.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.
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