Bolivia's government, opposition adjourn talks without breakthrough

Other News Materials 26 September 2008 11:22 (UTC +04:00)

Bolivia's government led by leftist President Evo Morales, and the conservative opposition adjourned talks until Monday without breakthroughs on key issues in their dispute over autonomy and tax revenues that has led to deadly violence, reported dpa.

Working groups for both sides have been unable to agree on a formula on dividing up tax income from oil and gas between the federal government and states, the opposition's Mario Cossio, governor of the breakaway state of Tarija, said Thursday.

Autonomy provisions in a draft of a new constitution and state autonomy statutes must also be harmonized, Cossio said after the talks broke up in the central city of Cochabamba.

The unrest in the resource-rich eastern part of impoverished Bolivia has centred on the region's demands for greater income from natural gas deposits and provincial autonomy. The violence since the end of August has left at least 15 dead.

Before the talks adjourned, Morales and the opposition had stressed the importance that an agreement be reached by Thursday. Cossio, however, expressed the hope that the two sides could wrap up the negotiations on Monday.

Also at the heart of the dispute are the future and range of reforms undertaken by Morales. He is seeking a redistribution of wealth from the eastern lowlands, dominated by descendants of European immigrants, and the western highlands, inhabited mainly by impoverished indigenous peoples.