Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso called a halt Tuesday to talks with the indigenous organization leading protests over the high cost of living in the wake of a soldier's death in a confrontation with people blocking a road.

In a nationally televised address, the right-wing billionaire put the blame for the rupture on Leonidas Iza, leader of the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie).

"One cannot sit down to talk with those who seek to kidnap the peace of Ecuadorians," Lasso said, citing what he called an attack on police and troops escorting a convoy of fuel trucks in the Amazon region.