Paraguay will begin exploring for hydrocarbons in the Chaco region, heartland of South America next 8 December, said oil consultant Mario Garnero after meeting on Tuesday with President Federico Franco.
Paraguay expects a significant upsurge in beef sales this year, despite the reported outbreaks of foot and mouth disease, because of the strong demand from Russia, according to local analysts.
Foreign minister Jose Felix Fernandez Estigarribia confirmed the beginning of negotiations for the re-incorporation of Paraguay to Unasur and Mercosur which will take place through the mediation of a Latinamerican country he did not identify.
By an overwhelming majority, 36 to 1 and eight absences, the Paraguayan Senate rejected the Unasur Commitment with Democracy Additional Protocol considering it contrary to the sovereign interests of the country and which was the argument used by the regional organization to sanction and suspend Paraguay.
Paraguay is involved in low key negotiations with the region to find a way for the quick return of the country to Unasur and Mercosur, and Chile and Colombia are playing crucial roles in such discussions, according to media reports from Asuncion.
President Federico Franco ratified on Monday before the Diplomatic Corps that Paraguay rejects point blank the incorporation of Venezuela as full member of Mercosur and also considers the country was unfairly treated by the block.
The Paraguayan Senate will be addressing on Thursday the Ushuaia II Protocol and the Unasur Additional Protocol on democratic commitment, both instruments used by Mercosur and Unasur last June to have Paraguay suspended from the two organizations.
Paraguay’s economy is forecasted to contract 1.5% in 2012 but in 2013 will soar 9.5% based on a “super soybean crop” and the recovery of other sectors, according to the latest report from the country’s Central bank confirming its previous 2012 GDP estimate.
President Federio Franco said he trusted Paraguay would be fully re-incorporated to Mercosur before the general election scheduled for 21 April 2013. Paraguay is currently suspended from the trade block following the removal of Fernando Lugo as president, a decision voted almost unanimously by the country’s Senate but condemned by Mercosur and Unasur.
Brazilian Foreign minister Antonio Patriota said on Friday that Paraguay could resume membership of Mercosur and Unasur without the need to wait for presidential elections next April 2013 as long as “full compliance with democracy” can be verified.