Bolivia will sign a new contract with Argentina at the end of June to prevent natural gas from being resold to Chile, reports reaching here quoted a leader of Bolivia's state energy company as saying on Monday.
The current contract, which expires at the end of 2006, already had some measures intended to block the sale of Argentine gas sales to Chile, in line with the policies made by then Bolivian President Carlos Mesa, Jorge Alvarado, president of the state-run Yaciementos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) told Bolivian television.
The new contract will further tighten these measures, he added.
Bolivia has proposed raising the price of the gas sold to Argentina to 5.5 U.S. dollars per million British Thermal Units, from the current 3.35 dollars.
In May, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner called on Chile to be part of the Argentina-Bolivia price talks, a move which triggered outrage in Bolivia.
Chile and Bolivia suspended diplomatic relations in 1978 following a row over a Bolivian claim to access to the Pacific Ocean. Bolivia lost its Pacific Ocean sea front during the 1879-1883 War.
The announcement came despite a recent public statement by Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley, urging Bolivian authorities not to hinder the improvement of Chile-Bolivia relations with "hostile statements."