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Bolivia's Morales sorry for Brazil plane search


Bolivia's President Evo Morales apologized to Brazil Friday for a 2011 incident in which authorities here searched a Brazilian military aircraft for drugs.

Brazil lodged an official complaint several days ago as Morales was demanding apologies from European countries for blocking his flight home from Moscow earlier this month.

Italy, Spain and Portugal denied Morales' aircraft overflight rights, apparently on the unfounded suspicion that US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden was aboard.

In its complaint, Brazil warned it would apply "the principal of reciprocity" if there were a repeat of the incident in which a Brazilian military aircraft assigned to Defense Minister Celso Amorim was searched in late 2011.

"Apologies to the Brazilian people, to its government," Morales said at a press conference, promising disciplinary action against those responsible for the search.

Professing ignorance of the incident, Morales said neither he nor his cabinet had ordered the search.

"I feel that some officials went overboard. Under the pretext of the battle against drug trafficking they don't respect official aircraft," he said.

As to why the incident was coming to light now, Morales said there were those both in Brazil and Bolivia who did not want their countries to get along.

"Some of our subordinates are dedicated to setting us against each other," he said.

"They are not going to be able to do it because there is unique confidence, before with (ex-president Luiz Inacio) Lula, and with (President Dilma) Rousseff," he said.