Unasur special envoy Salomon Lerner said he returns to Peru with “a good impression” of the Paraguayan electoral process and the overall situation of the country.
Bolivia accepted the official invitation to become full member of Mercosur and hopes to sign the first accords during the coming summit of the block in early December in Brasilia, said President Evo Morales.
The head of the Unasur High Level Group for Paraguay, former Peruvian Prime Minister Salomon Lerner is currently in the country where he arrived as a simple tourist with plans to meet local political leaders, members of the country’s Electoral Tribunal and get a feeling of the atmosphere in the run to presidential elections next April 2013.
Bolivia was formally invited to join Mercosur as a full member for which negotiations can begin in the coming summit December 7 in Brasilia. The invitation was made official by Mercosur High Commissioner Ivan Ramalho during a visit to La Paz where the met with Foreign minister David Choquehuanca and Economy and Planning ministers Luis Arce and Viviana Caro.
Mercosur condemned the “disproportionate use of force” in Gaza and called on Israel and Palestinians for an immediate cease fire of the conflict that has already left al least forty people killed, mostly civilians.
Spanish President Mariano Rajoy stated that he “would have liked” his Argentine counterpart, President Cristina Fernández to have attended the XXIIth Ibero-American summit, starting Friday in Cádiz.
Uruguay’ Chamber of Industries, CIU, criticized the ‘indiscriminate’ influx of foreign goods, labour costs and Mercosur, and called on government to change the focus of its policies towards manufacturing underscoring that the domestic market represents 55% of industries’ GDP.
Colombia and Chile ambassadors returned to Paraguay on Sunday after six months absence, the first two members from Unasur in doing so and in practical terms breaking the isolation imposed on the landlocked country following the political crisis which removed Fernando Lugo and had him replaced by current president Federico Franco.
Four former elected Uruguayan presidents openly discussed Mercosur revealing an overall disenchantment with the regional political and trade group but with different emphasis as to what was the path to follow.
Colombian ambassador Jorge Barrantes will be returning to his post in Asunción this weekend, the first Unasur country member to do so, according to Paraguayan Foreign minister Jose Fernandez Estigarribia. Chile is also expected to adopt a similar decision in the near future.