French president to visit Bolivia in September

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy will visit Bolivia in September for the launch of a public administration school during a regional tour, his Bolivian counterpart said Saturday.

Villa Tunari - French President Nicolas Sarkozy will visit Bolivia in September for the launch of a public administration school during a regional tour, his Bolivian counterpart said Saturday.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said Sarkozy, who is to visit neighboring Brazil for its Independence Day celebrations on September 7, would follow that trip with a stop in the central Bolivian city of Cochabamba to launch a joint French-Bolivian school for civil servants.

Morales, who was speaking in Villa Tunari in central Bolivia after a meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, did not give any further details on Sarkozy's visit.

France agreed to provide support for the school during a visit Morales made to Paris in February. Bolivia has also shown interest in purchasing helicopters to boost its counternarcotics efforts.

The two presidents had cited industrial partnerships in hydrocarbons (with the French oil company Total) and lithium, a soft metal used in electric car batteries.

France's Bollore, along with Mitsubishi and Sumitomo of Japan, as well as South Korea's LG are seeking to bid for a contract to exploit lithium at Salar de Uyuni.

The salt desert, which stretches across 11,000 square kilometers (4,200 square miles), is believed to hold at least half of the world's lithium reserves.

Brazil, Morales said, would be involved in industrializing the lithium reserves in the salt desert.

Meanwhile, Morales and Lula signed a USD 230-million credit agreement to build a 306-kilometer (190-mile) road from Villa Tunari to the northern Amazonian town San Ignacio de Moxos.

AFP / Expatica

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