September 23, 2008 / 1:40 AM / 9 years ago

South American leaders to meet on Bolivia crisis

<p>Armed supporters of Bolivia's President Evo Morales protest near San Pedro penitentiary in La Paz September 22, 2008, demanding prison sentence for opposition Pando province governor Leopoldo Fernandez.Gaston Brito</p>

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Leaders from several South American nations will meet in New York this week to discuss resolving the political crisis in impoverished Bolivia, Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley said on Monday.

The leaders, who met in Chile a week ago to help ease a political deadlock that flared into deadly protests, will meet on Wednesday, Foxley said from New York, where they are attending the United Nations General Assembly.

"They are going to review the work being done for peace in Bolivia up to now," Foxley said by telephone, adding that "some eight presidents," had confirmed they will attend the meeting.

South American leaders held hastily called meetings in the Chilean capital of Santiago last week, emerging after six hours of talks with a joint declaration endorsing the leftist government of Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Colombia President Alvaro Uribe has confirmed he will attend the New York talks, although it was not clear who the other attending presidents would be.

The meeting will not be attended by two of Morales' closest allies -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who is staunchly anti-Washington, and Ecuador's President Rafael Correa.

At least 18 people died in Bolivia this month when Morales supporters clashed with rightist opponents angered at his attempts to give Indians more political power and redistribute land to the poor.

Morales began talks last week with rightist, opposition provincial governors, but the talks deadlocked on Sunday.

Additional reporting by Patrick Markey in New York, Patricia Rondon in Caracas and Alexandra Valencia en Quito; writing by Pav Jordan

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