Uruguay will continue “to look after” Mercosur in spite of the strong diplomatic discrepancies with Argentina, but will also continue with an interest in participating in other trade blocks of the region, said President Jose Mujica.
“Looking after Mercosur, but we also have our eyes on the Pacific” said Mujica in an interview with the government’s television channel when asked about the recent Uruguayan request to enter the Alliance of the Pacific as an observer.
The recently created Alliance of the Pacific includes Colombia, Chile, Peru and Mexico four countries with a friendlier attitude towards business and foreign investment, and promoters of open markets and a strong private sector. Paraguay has also expressed an interest in considering such an option.
“The issue is getting together” with other Latinamerican countries said the Uruguayan president adding that the recent inclusion of Venezuela in Mercosur does not imply that country will have to abandon its membership from other regional blocks to which it currently belongs.
Thus “what is needed is a more flexible Mercosur”.
Venezuela was officially incorporated to Mercosur as the fifth full member on 31 July in Brasilia. Mercosur is now made up of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela and Paraguay which remains suspended following the late June political events that concluded with the removal of Fernando Lugo as president of the country.
Both issues remain highly controversial, particularly since Venezuela was incorporated taking advantage of Paraguay’s absence suspended from Mercosur.
More specifically on the current situation with Argentina and the escalade of misunderstandings between the neighbouring countries because of alleged irregularities regarding the dredging of a River Place shared access canal, Mujica was very prudent and made no comments.
“You well know that I have decided to be silent on the issue, and keep working. I think making remarks only worsens the situation. We will continue to work on the issue because Argentina, and good relations with Argentina are crucial for Uruguay” said Mujica who nevertheless denied media reports that he would in coming days meet with his Argentine counterpart Cristina Fernandez.