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Last Updated: Monday, 3 April 2006, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Bolivian leader seeks debt relief
Evo Morales arriving in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Evo Morales is urging for debt relief
Bolivia is urging the Inter-American Development Bank to write off part of the debt it and four other countries in the Americas owe the institution.

Evo Morales, Bolivia's president, is proposing that the IDB eliminate some of the $3.5bn (2bn) owed by Bolivia, Haiti, Honduras, Guyana and Nicaragua.

But two of the key countries in Latin America, Brazil and Mexico, have reservations about the relief proposal.

The IDB's annual meeting, a key event in the region, is being held in Brazil.

Nationalisation issue

Brazil's planning minister, Paulo Bernando, said Bolivia's plans needed much closer scrutiny.

"This has to be talked about and negotiated because the question is, 'who is going to be responsible in financial terms?'" he told the Associated Press news agency.

Though Mexico supports the debt relief package, it does not want to be responsible for paying for it, said Mexican finance minister Francisco Gil.

Bolivia owes the majority - 48% - of the total debt to the IDB, reports Brazil's governmental newswire.

Other topics to be debated at the IDB meeting include the bank's role in addressing infrastructure, economic growth and regional integration.

Another issue that is expected to be discussed is the recent decision by Bolivia to nationalise its natural gas industry and rise the price of gas for exportation.

This decision would have an important impact on Brazil, said Sergio Gabrielli, the president of Brazilian oil company Petrobras.

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