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.
Argentine President Cristina Fernández will have a meeting with Pope Francis during the Pontiff’s visit to Paraguay, official sources have confirmed. The Argentine leader will travel to Asunción between July 11 and 13 for her sixth encounter with Francis, who will be ending his South American tour during those dates. The Pope will visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, beginning Sunday.
The Mercosur Council will establish an action plan at the next Mercosur presidential summit scheduled for 16/17 July in Brasilia, when the group's chair for the next six months will be handed to Paraguay by Brazil. Other issues on the agenda besides making Mercosur more flexible include addressing the 'special regimes' and the 'free trade zones' in the area, revealed Uruguay's foreign minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa.
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.
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.
Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez will be meeting his peer, Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia this Thursday to address a dense bilateral agenda, and more specifically the workings and future of Mercosur, in search for a more flexible group, open to agreements with third parties.
Paraguay's foreign affairs minister Eladio Loizaga admitted in Madrid that Mercosur could consider the possibility of a two-speed system in trade and cooperation negotiations with the European Union. The minister was the main speaker at the event organized by Casa de America and the Spanish government news agency EFE.
Uruguay again complained about the current stalled situation of Mercosur and called for members to 'sincere' themselves regarding the compliance of the original 1991 founding charter, and hopefully we can at least reach the first stage of the chronogram: a free trade zone which effectively works and has not to bear the brunt of hurdles.