President Federico Franco and the head of the Spanish government Mariano Rajoy will address the participation of Paraguay in the coming Ibero-American summit scheduled for November in Cadiz, taking advantage of their presence in New York next week for the UN General Assembly.
The announcement was done by the Spanish embassy in Asunción and confirmed by the Paraguayan Foreign minister Jose Felix Fernandez Estigarribia, following the disclosure that a top Spanish diplomat had visited Asunción with the purpose of dissuading Paraguay from attending the Ibero-American summit since Spain wants to ensure the participation of Argentina.
The embassy said in reference to the visit of Secretary of State for International Cooperation and Ibero-America Jesus Gracia Aldaz, which took place last 12 and 13 September, in the framework of the excellent relations between the two countries” that it was a “public event” contrary to what was published in the local media.
“In the course of contacts with the Paraguayan authorities, a wide range of issues from the extensive and fruitful bilateral agenda were addressed including preparations for the Ibero-American summit”, added the embassy’s information.
“Given that the participation of Paraguay in the coming summit will be discussed during talks to be held by the president of the Spanish government Mariano Rajoy and the President of Paraguay Federico Franco, next week in New York, the embassy of Spain considers premature and inappropriate any speculations on the issue”.
The Spanish release insisted that all comments suggesting that relations of Spain with Paraguay, which are described as “prosperous and positive”, could be conditioned to the solution of contentious issues with other countries, totally unfounded.
The Paraguayan Foreign minister said that the attendance of Paraguay to the summit in Spain is an issue that “most surely will be decided following the meeting” of Rajoy and Franco whom will be going to New York to the UN General Assembly, and with date to be confirmed.
Paraguay is currently suspended as full member of Mercosur and from Unasur since last 29 June because of the “democratic rupture” which according to the other member countries occurred when Fernando Lugo was removed from the Executive following political impeachment by the Senate and his replacement by Federico Franco as president.
However in spite of the statement from the Spanish embassy in Asuncion, the influential newspaper El Pais from Madrid insists that the visit of Gracia Aldaz to Asuncion was to ask Paraguay to desist from participating in the coming summit, apparently because Argentine president Cristina Fernandez and other leaders from Mercosur and Unasur would not be represented if President Franco turned up at the event.
Fernandez Estigarribia asked specifically about the issue said he was not in a position to say whether it was an initiative from the Spanish diplomacy or a condition from the Argentine president, but admitted “it was an issue that the Spanish minister (Gracia Aldaz) brought to Asunción”.
However the Paraguayan minister was also understanding about the situation and pointed out that “Spain is going through a very difficult moment and one of the foreign policy priorities is a successful Cadiz summit. When the previous summit here in Paraguay (under the administration of president Lugo) many leaders did not turn up. Thus it is only logical that the Spanish government is making special efforts to ensure that the Ibero-American summit is a full success”, which it was not in Asunción and the King didn’t like it.
But “we strongly believe that Paraguay as a member of the summit and we are analyzing all factors as to whether attend or not; however this will depend on what happens during the meeting between the two leaders, one a head of state, the other a head of government”, said Fernandez Estigarribia.