UN chief welcomes political progress in Bolivia

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday welcomed the latest positive developments toward a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis in Bolivia, report agencies.

Guterres welcomed the adoption of legislation over the weekend to establish a new Supreme Electoral Tribunal that will call for the holding of general elections at the earliest possible opportunity, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN Chief, in a statement.

The United Nations will be ready to provide support as appropriate, said the statement.

This latest development demonstrates the political will to end the weeks-long crisis. To consolidate these gains and prevent further violence, more steps, however, are needed, such as curbing the rhetoric of intolerance, increasing cooperation among all political forces, and restoring trust and confidence among all those affected by the violent events of the past month, it said.

The secretary-general strongly urges the pursuit of peaceful and constructive dialogue. His personal envoy, Jean Arnault, will continue to work with the facilitators to support efforts in this regard, it said.

Bolivia has been roiled by political instability following election controversies. The country's electoral authority declared Evo Morales as the winner of the presidential race last month, but the opposition refused to recognize the outcome, claiming fraud.

Following weeks of opposition protests, with the army and police force taking side with his political opponents, Morales resigned and flew to Mexico, where he had been offered asylum.