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2009-12-08

Dec. 8 News Brief South America

LIMA, Peru – China supplies Peru with tanks for evaluation: The Chinese Government has offered Peru five MBT 2000 tanks "without any kind of commitment" for testing purposes before the Peruvian army decides which model will replace its aging Soviet-era T-55 tanks. According to local press, the army "is in the final stage of selecting a tank," having already studied the capabilities of Germany's Leopard 2A6, the Russian T90S, the Ukrainian Oplot and the PT-91 from Poland.

[La República, EFE]

SANTIAGO, Chile – Chilean Foreign Minister welcomes Peruvian ambassador's return: Chilean Foreign Minister Mariano Fernández described Peru's decision to return Ambassador Carlos Pareja to his post in Santiago as "very positive." Pareja, who was recalled for consultations in mid-November, owing to alleged espionage by Chile, will be back in office in time for the Chilean presidential elections on Dec. 13. Fernández announced that President Michelle Bachelet's government was deciding what action to take with Chile's ambassador to Peru, Favio Vio, who is still in Santiago.

[La Tercera, EFE]

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – Lugo and Fernández meet Mujica: Uruguayan President-elect Jose Mujica held his first meeting with a foreign head of state since his recent election victory with Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, who is in Montevideo to attend the Mercosur presidential summit. Neither of the representatives of the regional bloc's smallest member-countries wished to comment on the agenda of their meeting, which lasted for 50 minutes instead of the expected 20. Mujica also met with Argentinian President Cristina Fernández to strengthen diplomatic ties.

[El País, EFE]

LA PAZ, Bolivia – Norwegian mission to attend trial of three tourists: Norwegian Ambassador to Argentina Nils Haugstveit and embassy staff will attend the trial against three Norwegian tourists in Bolivia on Dec. 11. Christina Oygarden, Stina Brendeno Hagen and Madeleine Alicia Rodriguez are accused of drug trafficking and have been detained since 2008 in the Cochabamba region. The anti-drugs prosecutor assigned to the case, Claudia Mancilla, stated, "A transnational crime was committed in Bolivia but the destination of the drugs was Norway." Haugstveit said he wanted to ensure the trial did "not infringe the rights" of his fellow Norwegians.

[Los Tiempos, EFE]

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