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Thanks, but you shouldn't have

When high-ranking government officers travel abroad, it's common for them to be presented with gifts by the host government. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is no exception. Take, for example, her visit to Bolivia, whose new leftist president has vowed to be the Bush administration's "worst nightmare." Evo Morales, however, was the perfect gentleman when they sat down last weekend to discuss bilateral relations - and specifically his view that coca-farming deserves more, rather than less, support. Morales, the nation's first indigenous leader, comes by that view naturally since he was a grower himself. Still, it's one that the US doesn't share , since the coca leaf is the base ingredient for cocaine, and Bolivia is the world's No. 3 producer of the narcotic. Anyway, at the close of their half-hour meeting, Morales offered his guest a traditional gift, a guitar from the Andean region. He may have reasoned that Rice would particularly appreciate the gesture because she's also a concert- quality pianist. Alas, there was one small glitch: The instrument has a coca-leaf inlay. Putting a diplomatic face on the situation, a State Department spokesman said afterward, "We'll just have to check with our customs to see what rules apply. [But] we certainly hope we can bring it back."

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