Paraguayan Foreign minister Jose Fernandez Estigarribia said on Monday that so far Asuncion has not received any invitation from Mercosur to attend the coming summit at the end of June, and there haven’t been any talks about the issue. Last week the Argentine ambassador in Uruguay Dante Dovena had anticipated that Paraguay would be attending the Mercosur summit.
“We want to return to Mercosur according to law, as it must be done. So far I have received no indication to attend that meeting” said the Paraguayan minister.
Nevertheless he admitted that Paraguay wants to sit down and talk with its Mercosur partners, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. And one of the issues of the agenda is the incorporation of Venezuela, and respect for Paraguayan rule of the law and constitutional system.
When asked about the alleged strong lobby from Brazil to prevent Paraguay from becoming an observer of the Alliance of the Pacific, during this block’s summit, Fernandez Estigarribia said he became aware of the situation through the media, “that was all”.
However he took time to express Paraguay’s gratitude towards the governments of Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico “for having included our country in the block”.
Paraguay is currently suspended from Mercosur because of the removal a year ago of Fernando Lugo and his replacement by President Federico Franco. The removal followed impeachment by the Senate which overwhelmingly voted against Lugo basically accusing him of incompetence, but it was all done according to the mechanism established in the Paraguayan constitution.
However Mercosur members, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay claimed the removal had been a ‘congressional coup’ and suspended Paraguay until the next presidential election when the situation would be reviewed.
Furthermore in the absence of Paraguay the remaining members approved the incorporation of Venezuela that had been blocked by the Paraguayan Senate since 2006 because it considered the regime of former president Hugo Chavez lacked the necessary democratic credentials.
On April 21, Horacio Cartes was elected president of Paraguay and is scheduled to take office on August 15. Brazilian diplomacy has said that the new Paraguayan government will not be recognized until it takes office in August.