UNITED NATIONS: Bolivia has been allowed to return to the United Nations' main anti-narcotics treaty, after winning an opt-out allowing its population to keep chewing coca leaves.
Bolivia withdrew from the UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs last year in protest over the coca leaf being labeled an illegal drug.
Chewing coca leaves is a centuries' old tradition in Bolivia. The leaf is also the raw ingredient for cocaine.
President Evo Morales has been to international conferences protesting the ban. Now the UN has come up with a plan allowing Bolivia to rejoin the convention, with a "reservation" regarding coca leaf chewing.
Re-accession to the treaty would be allowed provided fewer than a third of the convention's 183 member states objected.
A UN spokesman, Eduardo del Buey, said that 15 countries had objected to Bolivia's optout in the 12 month consultations which ended Thursday.
He named them as the United States, Britain, Sweden, Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Netherlands, Israel, Finland, Portugal, Ireland, Japan and Mexico.