Ahmadinejad stopped in Bolivia en route to Brazil and was welcomed by his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales at the El Alto airport on Tuesday.
Then they headed to the Palacio Quemado presidential palace to hold meetings on regional and international issues as well as ways to expand mutual cooperation, particularly in the areas of farming, mining, oil and gas, and healthcare.
At his airport welcome, more than 100 indigenous protesters waved Bolivian and Iranian flags, with one local farmer holding a banner reading “Yes to Iran’s nuclear program.”
Three indigenous people’s groups close to the government of Morales, who is Bolivia’s first democratically elected indigenous president, also issued a statement of support for Ahmadinejad and his solidarity with the South American nation.
“The long age of colonial exploitation is the result of the attitude and actions of greedy governments and states that want to stop others from developing, and from exercising freedom,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech alongside Morales.
“We are two sovereign and independent countries with very old civilizations. Today we’ve decided to stand on our own feet. Today we’ve decided to provide our people with freedom, justice, and rights. We want to reach heights of development and build our countries with our own natural and human resources,” he added.
The high-level environmental meeting entitled the Rio+20 Summit, also known as the Earth Summit, which is formally called the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, will be held from June 20 to 22 at the Riocentro Convention Centre in Rio de Janeiro.
After the summit, Ahmadinejad will then travel to Venezuela on the last leg of his South American tour to meet Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, Vice President for Executive Affairs Hamid Baqaei, and Vice President for International Affairs Ali Sa’eedlou are accompanying President Ahmadinejad on the trip.
Chavez has made nine trips to Tehran over the past 13 years while Morales has visited Tehran twice, once in 2008 and again in 2010.
Ahmadinejad last visited Latin America in January and made stops in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Cuba.
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