Brazil Calls Bolivia Childish and Vows Not to Pay More for Gas

Brazil described as "childish and amateur" Bolivia's indication that it may cancel a scheduled presidential bilateral summit, if Brazil does not pay more for Bolivian natural gas.

According to reports in São Paulo's press, Brazil's Foreign Affairs minister Celso Amorim reacted "harshly" to his Bolivian counterpart, David Choquehuanca, statements who conditioned the next summit to the evolvement of natural gas negotiations.

Brazil's Foreign Affairs ministry, Itamaraty, described the threat to cancel Bolivian president Evo Morales visit to Brazil as "childish and amateur", reported Folha de S. Paulo.

Over the weekend Choquehuanca said that "the final declaration from the two presidents has been drafted to great extent," but added that Morales visit to Brazil "would depend on how the different bilateral committees' workings evolve, particularly regarding the natural gas issue."

According to Folha, Amorim's reaction was harsh and said that Choquehuanca's statement "was another evidence of the amateurishness of President Morales' administration foreign policy".

"Both President Lula and Amorim feel they have been extremely patient with Bolivia," underlines Folha de S. Paulo, which normally has good contacts in Itamaraty.

A spokesperson for Itamaraty said that Bolivia so far is keeping Morales's visit to Brazil as previously agreed "and we continue to prepare for the event".

"The alleged information regarding the canceling of the visit was published in La Paz press but officially Bolivia has not mentioned a word," added the spokesperson who revealed that Lula and Morales will be signing agreements for the construction of hydroelectric dams in the common border along the Madeira River.

During the visit Lula is also expected to announce that following strong lobbying from "several of Bolivia's friends", the Interamerican Development Bank will condone US$ 1.3 billion of the country's debt with the multilateral organization.

Brazil also rejected any possibility of paying a higher price for Bolivian natural gas. Brazil is Bolivia's main client and built most of the country's gas industry infrastructure including the pipeline to the industrial hub of São Paulo.

"As far as I know there are no chances of price readjustments", said Dilma Rousseff Brazilian cabinet chief.

The natural gas price paid by Brazil is "compatible" with market conditions, she said.

Bolivia is pushing for a price increase similar to that already agreed with Argentina, that is, US$ 5 per million BTU,
Brazil's Petrobras currently is paying an average US$ 4.3 per million BTU, but the regional company Pantanal Energia from Mato Grosso do Sul, neighboring with Bolivia, US$ 1.09.

Bolivia pumps 26 million cubic meters per day of natural gas to Brazil.

Mercopress

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