Etno seeks EU arbitration to resolve Entel conflict

4 Mar 2008

BNamericas reports that Bolivian newspaper El Diaro says that the European telecommunications network operators’ association (ETNO) has asked for the European Union (EU) to take an active role in the ongoing dispute over renationalisation of Bolivian telco Entel. The dispute arose when the Bolivian government attempted to strongarm Telecom Italia into selling all or part of its 50% stake in Entel. Initially the Italian company agreed to talk with the Bolivian government but talks collapsed when the latter refused the company’s request to move the negotiations to another country. Telecom Italia later initiated a case before the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), but concerns were voiced over the Bolivian government’s previous refusal to recognise the body in 2006 – on the basis that it is biased in favour of multinational companies.