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Bolivia's Morales rejects opposition autonomy proposal, talks on hold
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13:18, September 26, 2008

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Bolivian President Evo Morales on Thursday rejected a proposal from opposition governors to give full autonomy to their provinces while talks aimed at aimed at ending the political crisis in the country were postponed to next week.

Morales accusing his opponents of seeking de facto independence. "A full autonomy over any region is de facto independence," Morales told reporters in the city of Cochabamba in central Bolivia.

He also accused the opposition of disguising their "separatist intention" with their autonomy proposal.

"Those pro-coup people would not get the national and international support," the president said.

The talks, under monitorship of the Organization of American States and the United Nations, will resume on Monday, Rural Development Minister Carlos Romero.

Morales and opposition governors started a round of talks at the El Manantial complex near Cochabamba last Thursday. The negotiations focused on redistribution of national revenues, provincial autonomy and the draft for a new constitution.

However the talks became deadlocked after four days of negotiation, and the government claimed that the governors balked at signing an initial deal.

Protests broke out earlier this month against Morales' plans to amend the constitution and reallocate gas revenues. Anti-government protesters blocked the road, stormed official buildings and clashed with supporters of the president.

Dozens of Bolivians were reportedly killed or injured and many others went missing in violent clashes in the country.


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