Chile protests presence of armed Bolivian military to La Paz

13:20, June 18, 2011      

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Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno Friday lodged a protest with the Bolivian government over the entrance of 14 armed Bolivian military personnel in Chilean territory.

Moreno called his Bolivian counterpart David Choquehunaca and informed him of the incident and said he had sent a formal notice of protest through the Bolivian Consular offices in the Chilean capital.

The Bolivians, dressed in military uniforms, were all arrested by Chile's police after being surprised earlier Friday in their vehicles in the Chilean border region of Colchane, some 2,000 kilometers north of Santiago, the Chilean foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Bolivians said they had been on a standard border patrol on the look-out for groups smuggling stolen vehicles across the border. The 14 Bolivians are expected to be expelled from Chile later Friday, the ministry said.

Bilateral relations between Chile and Bolivia have been tense for years and soured further in recent months after Bolivian President Evo Morales announced he is taking Chile to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to demand a sea outlet.

Landlocked Bolivia has not had a direct access to the sea after losing the 1879-1833 Pacific War to Chile.

Source: Xinhua
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