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Morales arrives in Argentina to seek asylum

Evo Morales fled Bolivia after nearly 14 years in power, having lost the support of the military amid weeks of violence that followed what international monitors said were deeply flawed elections.

FILE: Hand out picture released by the Bolivian Presidency showing former Bolivian President Evo Morales at a press conference in El Alto, on 10 November, 2019. Picture: AFP

BUENOS AIRES - Bolivia's exiled ex-president Evo Morales arrived in Buenos Aires on Thursday where he is to seek political asylum, Argentina's Foreign Minister Felipe Sola announced.

Morales "has just landed at Ezeiza (airport). He's coming to stay in Argentina as an asylum seeker and will then have refugee status," Sola told TN television.

The new Argentine minister said Morales "feels more comfortable here than in Mexico," which initially offered him asylum when he fled Bolivia last month.

Morales fled Bolivia after nearly 14 years in power, having lost the support of the military amid weeks of violence that followed what international monitors said were deeply flawed elections.

Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, claims he was overthrown in a right-wing coup, and while in Mexico has kept up a daily campaign in interviews and on Twitter against the interim right-wing government.

Bolivia's Foreign Minister Karen Longaric warned Argentina that the former president would have to comply with the rules of asylum and not interfere in Bolivia's politics.

Whether as an asylum seeker or refugee, Longaric said the former president should not be allowed to carry out public political activity as he did in Mexico.

"We hope that Argentina strictly complies with the principles and rules of asylum and refugee rights, and that what happened in Mexico, where he had an open microphone and open forum to do politics, does not re-occur," Longaric told a news conference in La Paz.

The minister said she foresaw "very difficult" relations with Argentina, which did not invite Bolivia's interim right-wing president Jeanine Anez to Monday's inauguration of leftist President Alberto Fernandez, who has spoken proudly of his friendship with Morales.

Morales left Mexico City on Friday for a brief visit to Cuba, before flying to Argentina.

His two children arrived in the Argentine capital from La Paz at the end of November.

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