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Humala Visits Burnt Palace; Morales Expected to Discuss Pacific Access

Posted: Matthew Grace on Jun 21 | International

Peruvian President-elect Ollanta Humala will visit La Paz today in his second tour of the region. Bolivian President Evo Morales is expected to discuss his country’s maritime claim against Chile.

Bolivian communications minister Ivan Canelas confirmed that Morales will speak with Humala about the dispute regarding Bolivia’s access to the Pacific Ocean.

Humala has said that he has “a widely shared vision of integration” with the Bolivian president. “For me, it’s an important meeting, [Bolivia] is an Aymara and sister nation.” (Although Peru’s indigenous population is majority Quechua, the Aymara live in the altiplano that encompasses parts of both countries. President Morales is Aymara.)

Humala has already lent tacit support to Bolivia’s maritime claim, saying after his electoral victory that Peru “will cooperate for the Bolivian position; we will not be an obstacle” in Bolivia’s quest for an outlet to the Pacific.

Humala recently informed the Chilean government that Peru would support ceding its former territory to Bolivia in order to facilitate the maritime claim. The 1929 Peace and Friendship treaty, which formalized relations between the three countries after the turn-of-the-century War of the Pacific—when allies Peru and Bolivia lost coastal territory to Chile—requires Peru’s “prior agreement” for negotiations in which Chile might cede former Peruvian territory to a third party (in this case, Bolivia).

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