LA PAZ, Bolivia – A day after dismissing Europeans' concerns, Bolivian President Evo Morales pledged to cooperate with international investigators looking into the shooting deaths of three men from Ireland, Hungary and Romania.
He said foreign investigators were now welcome, and indicated he also would share more details of Bolivia's investigation.
An elite Bolivian police unit gunned the three down last week in a raid at a hotel in Santa Cruz, where opposition to Morales' leftist government is widespread. Authorities said they had foiled a plot by the three men — and two whom they arrested — to assassinate Morales and Vice President Alvaro Garcia.
"Regardless of where they come from, the international community is welcome to come and investigate," Morales told reporters at U.N. headquarters. "It can find out for itself about the photos, the videos and information from the Internet."
And if foreign investigators do come, he added: "I'll be better off."
On Tuesday, Morales had dismissed appeals from the leaders of Ireland, Hungary and Romania for evidence backing the sensational allegations against the three men. Morales had said the three nations have "no authority" and should not interfere in Bolivia's investigation into the shootings.
The three killed were identified as Michael Dwyer, an Irish bodyguard; Arpad Magyarosi, an ethnic Hungarian from Romania; and Eduardo Rozsa-Flores, a Hungarian citizen born in Bolivia who became a minor celebrity in Croatia for leading a unit of foreign volunteers against the Serbs during its 1991 independence war.
Rozsa-Flores said in an interview last fall that he was forming a militia in Bolivia to defend Santa Cruz against the central government. He asked at the time that the interview not be published unless he was killed.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Balazs said there was no credible evidence that the group had plotted an assassination.
Ireland's foreign minister, Michael Martin, said Morales was being unreasonable and unfair and Bolivia was wrong to block other governments from finding out why their citizens were shot to death.
Morales revisited his position Wednedsay after addressing the U.N. General Assembly about climate change on the occasion of Earth Day.
"Hopefully, Bolivian law enforcement can share its investigation with the international community," Morales said during an hour-long news conference at which he answered only a few questions with long, rambling responses.