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Bolivia Pledges to Regain Control of All Natural Resources


Bolivia's Foreign Minister says the government plans to regain control of all of the country's natural resources, including land, timber, silver and water.

David Choquehuanca Cespedes says the income generated from natural resources under foreign ownership has not benefited Bolivia's population. He says new laws will be introduced to prevent foreigners from looting such resources.

Choquehuanca was speaking Monday on the sidelines of a United Nations forum in New York, which is focusing on the plight of indigenous people around the world.

Choquehuanca says the government is discussing the nationalization of resources with foreign investors from France, Spain and Brazil. He also promised multinational firms will still be able to profit from their investments in Bolivia.

Bolivian President Evo Morales made a similar assurance in an address to the European Parliament Monday in Strasbourg. He said foreign investors are entitled to make profits in the oil and gas sector, but said the state will manage the resources.

Mr. Morales ordered the nationalization of Bolivia's oil and gas industries on May 1.

Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera says the government has ordered two foreign pension funds to hand over control of shares they hold in three energy companies. He says negotiations with the pension funds on the transfer of shares were unsuccessful.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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