Peace talks break down with renegade Bolivian governors
Negotiations broke down in Bolivia when regional governors in rebellion against the federal government refused to sign an agreement with President Evo Morales' administration, a senior official said.
Rural Development Minister Carlos Romero insisted Sunday night that the two sides made significant advances on the issue of autonomy during 10 hours of talks in the city of Cochabamba, reported dpa.
"They can't say that there wasn't any agreement," Romero said. "If they're trying to say there was no consensus, then they are just playing politics, and we're not interested in that."
But one of the governors said no consensus had been reached.
"We have dissented democratically, and it was not possible to build a consensus," said Tarija Governor Mario Cossio of the National Council for Democracy, which is demanding greater autonomy and control over revenues from natural gas in resource-rich eastern Bolivia. "We have not signed any document or any agreement."
Morales, the country's first indigenous president, is trying to push a redistribution of energy revenues to provide health benefits to long-neglected poor sectors of the country.
Cossio and three other regional governors declared themselves in rebellion last month over the issue of autonomy and tax revenue redistribution.
Resulting unrest in the dispute since the end of August has left at least 15 people dead.
The Morales government and its socialist backers are also pressing in the National Congress to schedule a public referendum to ratify a new constitution for the country.