Unasur leaders will welcome Paraguay’s return to the group and will honour the memory of deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez during this week’s summit in Suriname that will be taking the chair of the group from Peru.
According to Ike Antonious head of the Suriname delegation the summit will be the first international meeting attended by the new Paraguayan president (who took office 15 August) Horacio Cartes and “I can anticipate that Cartes and Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro have overcome their differences”.
Paraguay was suspended from Unasur and Mercosur in June 2012 following the removal of Fernando Lugo and his replacement by Federico Franco, but at the same time the other three Mercosur members agreed to the incorporation of Venezuela as full member, until then pending approval from the Paraguayan Senate.
Following the June events, Paraguay and Venezuela cut their diplomatic relations to a minimum, but according to Antonious, “Paraguay and Venezuela positions have come closer, something which was implemented during the last Mercosur summit in July”, when Venezuela was given the rotating chair for the next six months.
The official position of President Cartes is no rush to return to Mercosur, dissatisfied with the ‘illegal incorporation’ of Venezuela, because it was agreed when Paraguay was suspended ‘in violation of the Mercosur charter that demands a unanimous approval and with full attendance of all members”.
“The summit will address the development of a strategic vision for Unasur, the institutional strengthening of the secretariat as well as establishing work groups on human rights and youth affairs” anticipated Antonious.
He added that the Paramaribo declaration will include statements of the Falklands/Malvinas Argentine claim; the Middle East situation and the peace process in Colombia.
Suriname is hosting the seventh summit of the group which is made up of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez, Chile’s Sebastian Piñera, Uruguay’s Jose Mujica and Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro have confirmed attendance.