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Associated Press: Bolivian leader in Netherlands for talks Sunday

Nov 26, 2:35 PM ET

Bolivian President Evo Morales arrived in the Netherlands on Sunday to meet senior government officials and executives from Shell following his recent legislation to nationalize the country’s oil and gas industry.

He was meeting members of the Dutch Bolivian community Sunday evening before his official duties began Monday with talks with Foreign Minister Ben Bot, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC chief executive Jeroen Van der Veer and chief financial officer Peter Voser.

Morales nationalized the South American country’s oil and gas industry May 1, giving foreign companies 180 days to sign new deals ceding majority control of their Bolivian operations or leave the country.

On Oct. 28, foreign oil companies bowed to Morales’ nationalization decree and signed contracts giving the government a majority of their Bolivian revenues. That reversed Morales’ sinking poll numbers as even his rivals acknowledged the contracts were a boon for South America’s poorest country.

Bolivia’s natural gas reserves are South America’s largest after Venezuela’s.

Later Monday, Morales was scheduled to meet Dutch Queen Beatrix and Argentinean-born Princess Maxima at Huis ten Bosch palace in woods outside The Hague and visit the International Court of Justice.

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