Argentina and Brazil reaffirmed on Friday their strategic alliance and commitment to Mercosur and regional integration during a summit in Brasilia, where President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner together with her Brazilian peer Dilma Rousseff inaugurated the new Argentine Embassy in the Brazilian capital.
Former Brazilian President Lula da Silva was also present at the inauguration ceremony, transmitted live to Argentina on national radio and television.
The three leaders in brief speeches recalled the figure of late ex-president Nestor Kirchner as a decisive actor, together with Lula da Silva, in transforming a long established rivalry between the two countries into a convergence of interests and integration.
Cristina Fernandez said that “He (Nestor Kirchner), together with Lula da Silva knew how to lift the cultural and political barriers” that were separating both countries and jointly helped construct an almost ‘defunct’ Mercosur into a lively, robust instrument of integration which has extended to the rest of the continent.
“Imagine, Argentina didn’t have its own house in the very country which is Argentina’s main trade partner, and with whom together, Brazil and Argentina, have so much to achieve regionally and internationally”, said Cristina Fernandez who called for a regional response to the global financial crisis.
President Rousseff emphasized that Brazil together with Argentina “had left behind the rivalries caused by the dominant countries that were concentrated in separating us” and now things are completely different based on a strong commercial and political alliance.
Former president Lula da Silva anticipated that the regional alliance, particularly with two strong character women presidents, ‘unthinkable not so long ago’, will have a major influence in the G20 group made up of the largest economies in the world.
“If Nestor (Kirchner) and I achieved something, it will be insignificant compared to what these two committed president-leaders will achieve bilaterally and in the world arena”, forecasted Lula da Silva
Earlier at a press conference in the Executive Planalto palace, the two leaders reiterated their will to strengthen the commercial bond amongst the two largest South American countries and economies. “Trade and production complementation have become potent tools of the integration process”.
“It is important to integrate our productive processes. We can not back from an interaction like the one we have”, underlined President Rousseff, who brushing aside trade dispute claims said “they are not relevant to the integration process”. Furthermore a Business Council was created specifically “for that purpose” said Dilma.
The Brazilian president added that Argentina and Brazil close strategic alliance is not limited to political and trade issues, “we have joint ventures in several fields, such as defence, space research and technology, among others”.
However the Argentine president supported further dialogue between the private sectors of both countries. “Let’s work on the articulation of Brazilian and Argentine private sectors so we won’t have any conflict of interests” remarked Cristina Fernandez.
During the meeting, Mrs Kirchner reminded good relations between Brazil and Argentina were fomented by late president Nestor Kirchner. “Our brotherly relation has much to do with the efforts of our beloved Nestor Kirchner” she stressed.
“I still recall when back in 2003, in spite of being a provincial governor and presidential hopeful with only 22% of the vote, the President of Brazil said he had time to meet us and encourage us to continue with the campaign”, revealed Mrs. Kirchner.