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Bolivia's interim government wants to develop energy projects with Russia — diplomat

Russian Ambassador to Bolivia Vladimir Sprinchan met with Bolivia's acting minister of hydrocarbons and energy Hugo Zamora Castedo on Friday

RIO DE JANEIRO, November 23. /TASS/. Bolivia's interim government is interested in continuing cooperation with Russia on energy projects and considers them "useful" for the country's economy, Russian Ambassador to Bolivia Vladimir Sprinchan told TASS on Friday after a meeting with Bolivia's acting minister of hydrocarbons and energy Hugo Zamora Castedo.

Sprinchan said that Bolivia's interim government knows about the unfinished talks on cooperation in the gas sphere and actively supported their continuation. "Yes, I know about this, and I think that they [the talks] should continue because they are in the interests of the country's economy," Sprinchan quoted Castedo as saying. The Russian ambassador clarified that he is talking about Gazprom's participation in developing new natural gas deposits in Bolivia, in extracting and transporting it to neighboring countries. Sprinchan noted that Russia's investment in this project stands at around $900 million.

"Russia is interested in contracts and agreements in the interests of both countries. We wish Bolivia to get past these uneasy times as fast as possible, in order for life to return to normal, for the economy to develop, for our [joint] projects to proceed," the diplomat stressed. He reminded about the construction of the Center of Nuclear Research and Technologies in Bolivia's El Alto by Russia's Rosatom. "This is something that has stalled on the agenda due to recent developments," he concluded.

The presidential election in Bolivia was held on October 20. According to the Supreme Electoral Court, incumbent President Evo Morales won in the first round. His main competitor, Carlos Mesa, said that he does not recognize Morales' victory in the first round. After the results of the election were announced, large-scale protests and strikes started across the country.

On November 10, Morales announced his resignation and characterized the situation in the country as a coup. He was earlier asked to leave his post by the country's armed forces, opposition and labor unions. Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and several ministers and parliament members resigned as well.

The Mexican authorities granted political asylum to Morales. Morales arrived in Mexico on November 12. Later on that day, Bolivian Senator Jeanine Anez declared herself as interim president.