12:16 GMT03 August 2020
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    Bolivia hopes to enhance economic cooperation with Russia by attracting Russian investments and loans as well as by gaining access to the Russian technologies, Bolivian President Evo Morales told Sputnik in an interview.

    LA PAZ (Sputnik) – Morales spoke in favour of boosting multilateral cooperation between Russia and Bolivia.

    ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH RUSSIA

    "We want to get access to the subject of investment, credit and technology from Russia. Russia's presence is not only important in Bolivia for us, but also in Latin America, and will provide us with guarantees of economic emancipation," Morales said in the interview.

    In particular, the Bolivian president welcomed Russia's energy giant Gazprom as a partner to participate in gas and oil projects developed by the country’s companies.

    "We have many companies working in Bolivia as partners, they were owners before, in the filed of hydrocarbons in particular. But not now. We are partners… Gazprom is welcome as a partner of our companies, this is the model we have, and we agree," he said, adding that Bolivia hopes to sign agreements with Gazprom at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in June on the exploration of six gas fields in the country.

    President Morales invited Russian companies to participate in Bolivian electrical projects, saying that the country might become a great energy power but needed foreign investments to achieve that.

    "If any Russian private or state company wants to invest as a partner of Bolivian companies, [this is] welcome… Of course, these large-scale projects we have we cannot develop alone. We understand this. We need the presence of foreign investment. If we tell Russia 'welcome,' then it will have investment in Bolivia guaranteed by the [Bolivian] Constitution," the president said.

    He also said Bolivia would increase financing the joint construction of a nuclear center with Russia's Rosatom.

    The Bolivian president also noted that the country plans to return to the topic of purchasing Russian helicopters for the fight against drug trafficking.

    CRITICISM OF US POLICY

    President Morales also criticized the US policy obstructing Russian and Chinese business in Bolivia.

    "I am very sorry about the policy of the United States which aims at obstructing new investment by new, developed, industrial countries, such as China and Russia. This is a policy of persecution, which uses available 'tools,' they are also the Bolivians, but have a pro-imperialist, pro-capitalist orientation, they are used to prevent Chinese and Russian investment in Bolivia," he said.

    He explained that the United States, in contrast to Russia and China, imposed conditions for its investments offering loans in exchange for privatization of Bolivian companies and natural resources.

    Morales said Bolivia had rejected the US offer and chose nationalization as a model of economic development.

    Speaking on the possible recognition of Crimea's reunification with Russia, Bolivian President Evo Morales told Sputnik that Bolivia would always be with Russia against the US aggression.

    "In the face of any US aggression against Russia, we are always together with Russia. Whether it is political, economic, geographic, or military aggression, Russia may count on Bolivia, on our support… We all are anti-imperialists here, [we] support the anti-imperialist countries with all our means. Above all, [we] respect Russia and admire it," he stressed.

    MORALES’ PRESIDENCY

    Morales called himself a president with the largest number of implemented decisions in the Bolivian history. He said that he wanted to make basic service accessible and to increase the added value of the Bolivian natural resources.

    The Bolivian president also said he wanted to continue his service to the Bolivian people despite the defeat at the February referendum on the constitutional amendment, which would allow him to seek his fourth term in office in 2019.

    Morales concluded by saying he would hold a new referendum on the issue, which would be constitutional.

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    interview, cooperation, Gazprom, Evo Morales, United States, Russia, Bolivia
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