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New Bolivia president puts re-establishing ties with Iran top of his agenda

November 13, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Bolivia’s new President Luis Arce delivers a speech during the inauguration ceremony of his ministers at the Casa Grande del Pueblo government palace in La Paz on 9 November 2020 [AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images]

The newly elected president of Bolivia said on Sunday that re-establishing ties with Iran was at the top of his agenda.

Socialist President Luis Arce added he also wanted to re-connect with Venezuela, which already boasts economic ties with Iran.

On Wednesday, Arce received the credentials of ambassadors from the two countries, the first step to restoring bilateral relations, Reuters reported.

On Twitter, Arce said Bolivia was restoring full ties with Iran in order “to strengthen strategic ties for the good of our peoples.”

Adding that Iranians “are always welcome in #Bolivia”. The Bolivian president said the same of Venezuela in another tweet.

Arce, Reuters quoted the president as saying, plans to “re-establish diplomatic relations damaged by the previous de facto government”, led by interim president Jeanine Anez.

The newly elected president also promised “to rectify what was bad and deepen what was good” during his inauguration address on Sunday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who is currently on a tour of left-wing Latin American states including Venezuela and Cuba, attended Arce’s swearing-in ceremony.

READ: Bolivian ex-president says interim gov’t sought Israeli army protection

Upon his arrival in the Bolivian capital, Zarif tweeted: “Just arrived in La Paz, to celebrate with Bolivians the fruits of their struggle to restore their democracy. And honoured to participate in inauguration of President Arce on [Sunday].”

“Great to witness the joy people exhibit celebrating their restoration of liberty & democracy.”

Zarif met with Arce and his vice-president before the inauguration, saying of the meeting: “Just met with President-elect Luis Arce and Vice President-elect David Choquehuanca of Bolivia. Conveyed my country’s congratulations on their victory and wished them and the nation the best.”

“We discussed our brother ties – political and economic – and ways to expand them.”

Iran and Venezuela were formerly key allies of former Bolivian President Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous leader who was forced to resigned last year under pressure over disputed elections.

Ties with the pair were cut by Morales’s interim successor, Anez, who also expelled Venezuelan diplomats and Cuban doctors over accusations they incited dissent after Morales was ousted, during her year-long rule.

READ: Iran foreign minister, in ally Venezuela, says US no longer ‘controls world’