US President Barack Obama denied at the weekend trying to assassinate Bolivian President Evo Morales, despite claims of such a plot, a US administration official said Sunday at the close of a summit of American leaders.
Obama made the denial Saturday during a meeting with South American leaders after Morales made the allegation.
Morales told reporters after that meeting that he had asked Obama to condemn a plot he said had the involvement of right-wing opponents in Bolivia.
Obama said on Sunday his administration "absolutely opposed" the violent overthrow of democratically elected governments.
On Thursday, Morales said three suspected mercenaries were killed in the anti-Morales stronghold of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, after the police arrested a gang that officials said traveled from either Ireland or Croatia to slay him.
The Bolivian leader raised the issue during a meeting between Obama and South American leaders on Saturday at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.
He later told a news conference Obama should repudiate the assassination attempt publicly and criticized what he said was U.S. meddling in Bolivia.
Asked about his contacts with Latin American leftist leaders at the summit, Obama told a closing news conference that he rejected coup plots against democratic leaders.
"I just want to make absolutely clear that I am absolutely opposed and condemn any efforts at violent overthrows of democratically elected governments, wherever it happens in the hemisphere," Obama said.
"That is not the policy of our government. That is not how the American people expect their government to conduct themselves," he added. "And so I want to be as clear as possible on that."
He acknowledged the United States' history of involvement in the region that has left many countries mistrustful. He said he emphasized in his talks with the leaders the need to move forward despite the past.
"I am responsible for how this administration acts," Obama said, "and we will be respectful to those democratically elected governments, even when we disagree with them."
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Nisan 2009, 13:40