Unasur agrees to greater economic coordination but remains divided on Libya
Union of South American Nations, Unasur, Foreign Affairs ministers agreed Wednesday in Buenos Aires to increase economic coordination and send monitoring missions to regional elections but could not reach a common position on the Libyan situation.
“What was approved by the meeting of ministers as an action plan is to advance in the design of a multilateral payments system which tends to the use of local currencies”, said Argentina’s Deputy Economy minister Roberto Feletti who also happens to be the economic coordinator and spokesperson of the meeting.
Feletti said that to achieve the multilateral system the “Latin American Free Trade Association (Aladi) will come under review as well as the unitary reciprocal credit payments system with which some countries work”.
“The tendency is to gradually replace the US dollar in regional trade” added Feletti.
Unasur Secretary General Maria Emma Mejia said ministers had agreed “to follow with three observers’-missions the coming electoral processes in Guyana, Bolivia and Paraguay” with the purpose of strengthening Unasur’s institutions.
However regarding the debate on the Libyan civil war Guyana Foreign Affairs minister Carolyn Rodriguez said that “different points of view were exchanged and we acknowledged that it is an evolving situation but we did not reach any joint position on the issue”.
Among the 12 Unasur members only Colombia has recognized the National Transition Council from the Libyan rebels which are fighting against Colonel Muhammad Gaddafi with the support of Nato and the United States.
President Hugo Chavez from Venezuela was the only leader from the block to publicly continue to recognize and support the government of Gaddafi whose whereabouts remains unknown following the capture this week of the capital Tripoli by rebel forces.
Mejia added that the group had advanced in the creation of three task delegations to work on monetary policies, strengthening of trade and expansion of the Latin American Reserves Fund Council, FLAR.
FLAR is an aid mechanism for members of the block in the event of facing financial difficulties such as balance of payments rapid alterations.
Feletti said that two additional points had been approved and they refer to the creation of a a regional development bank, under the name of Southern Bank and coordination in the use of central banks’ international reserves to protect the region from international financial volatility.
The Foreign Affairs Council final resolution also ratified support for Haiti and called on member states to comply with the agreed contributions to the Solidarity Fund, established in Ecuador, in February last year.
The meeting was held behind closed doors and in anticipation of the Thursday conference of the Cooperation Forum between Latin America and East Asia, which brings together 32 countries from both regions.
Unasur members are Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The meeting was originally convened to exam possible measures to jointly address the crises expanding in the US and the EU.
The 12 countries have international reserves equivalent to 574 billion dollars, according to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
So far seven countries have approved the creation of the Southern Bank.