Paraguay’s three branches of government agreed on Monday that Asuncion bears no obligation to repay $85 million borrowed by a representative of the late Gen. Alfredo Stroessner during the waning years of the 1954-1989 military regime.
Technical teams from Mercosur country members are scheduled to meet next Tuesday in Paraguay to iron out the final proposal to be presented by the group to the European Union for the long delayed trade and cooperation agreement. The meeting in Asunción will be headed by Rigoberto Gauto, who is currently the Mercosur coordinator since Paraguay holds this half year the rotating chair.
Paraguay is committed to return Mercosur to 'its roots', reach an agreement on some of the original fundamentals, eliminate restrictions to inter-trade and strongly promote the trade accord with the European Union. This is scheduled to take place in the coming six months once Paraguay is handed Mercosur' chair at the group's midyear presidential summit that begins on Thursday in Brasilia.
Pope Francis, wrapping up on Sunday his three-country tour of South America, urged people living in a flood-prone shantytown in Paraguay to stay united in their struggle for better living and working conditions.
President Cristina Fernández was present on Sunday in the Paraguayan capital, Asunción to hear Pope Francis give mass during his visit, and greeted the Argentine citizens who had travelled to see the leader of the Catholic church. The head of state left the open mass at around midday, handing Francis a gift before retiring after witnessing the ceremony with Paraguayan counterpart Horacio Cartés.
Pope Francis urged Paraguay to consolidate democracy and end corruption and drug trafficking, after receiving a colorful welcome on Friday at the start of the last leg of his eight-day South American tour.
Mercosur, ports, energy, trade are among the issues in the agenda that Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes will consider with his counterpart Tabare Vazquez when he makes a one day visit on Thursday to Montevideo, according to the Uruguayan ambassador in Asunción Federico Perazza, ahead of the meeting.
Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez said that Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay are ready to sign the long delayed trade and cooperation agreement between Mercosur and the European Union. Such an agreement has become one of the cornerstones of Vazquez presidency faced with falling exports and limited markets.
Paraguay believes in a 'single speed' approach to negotiations for a trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, but discussions must be more dynamic and wide ranging, said the country's president Horacio Cartes, currently visiting Spain.
Uruguay will be hosting Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes in early June when he is expected to confirm' his country's support to Uruguay and Brazil in their renewed approach to accelerate negotiations for the signing of a full cooperation and free trade agreement with the European Union, which were started fifteen years ago.