The U.S. and Bolivia agreed to work toward renewing full diplomatic relations, three years after Bolivian President Evo Morales declared the U.S. ambassador “persona non grata” and threw him out of the country.
“We look forward to the early return of ambassadors to both Washington and La Paz and to a more productive, collaborative relationship,” the two governments said in a statement issued by the U.S. Department of State late yesterday.
President Morales ejected the U.S. ambassador in September 2008 and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in November of that year amid accusations they were undermining his government. The U.S. denied the allegations. Bolivia is the world’s third-largest producer of coca, the raw ingredient in cocaine, after Peru and Colombia. Cultivation of coca is legal in the mountainous nation, where locals chew the leaves in religious ceremonies and to help ease altitude sickness.
The accord signed yesterday “establishes a framework by which the two governments will pursue relations on the basis of mutual respect and shared responsibility,” according to the statement. The accord aims to strengthen bilateral relations, support cooperative actions against narcotics production and trafficking and strengthen commercial relationships.