Paraguay and Venezuela presidents Horacio Cartes and Nicolas Maduro met on Friday for over half an hour following the mediation of Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff during the Unasur summit taking place in Paramaribo, Suriname. The meeting was made official by the Paraguayan presidency office and twits from the Planalto Palace, seat of the Brazilian executive.
“President Dilma promoted a meeting between presidents Nicolas Maduro and Horacio Cartes at Unasur (Union of South American Nations)”, said the twitted message, which anticipated ‘positive results’ from the meeting.
Venezuelan government news portal also underlined the meeting saying that the “hand shake” of the two leaders means the beginning of renewed diplomatic relations.
Relations between the two countries were at an all time low following the political impeachment that ended in the removal of former president Fernando Lugo in June 2012, and his replacement by Federico Franco, to which Mercosur, and later Unasur reacted by suspending Paraguay from both regional organizations.
Things worsened when in the absence of Paraguay, the other then three Mercosur members, (Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay) ignoring the group’s rules approved the incorporation of Venezuela as full member and later named Caracas president pro tempore of the trade group.
Maduro who at the time of the June 2012 events was Foreign minister was declared persona non grata for involvement in Paraguay internal affairs when he was caught on video trying to convince Paraguayan Armed Forces Chief of Staffs to send troops to the streets of Asuncion in support of former president Lugo.
President-elect Cartes also turned down an invitation to attend the Mercosur summit in Montevideo in July and last 15 August when the inauguration ceremony of Cartes in Asuncion, and in solidarity with Venezuela which was not invited, Bolivia and Ecuador were not represented.
The Suriname summit marks the official return of Paraguay to Unasur after the fourteen month suspension because of the June 2012 events.
Cartes on arrival at Paramaribo said he had come to the Unasur summit with “the purpose of strengthening regional integration” and during his first speech the president called for ideological pluralism respect from all Unasur members.
“I have no doubt that the integration we all desire is that which represents our peoples with their humanistic and democratic values, with inclusion and solidarity”, said Cartes to the VII Unasur summit
“There is not way to justify barriers of any kind among us and we must emphasize with a strong political will our commitment to make Unasur a common destiny, accepting political pluralism, reaffirming juridical equality among our states as well as of those principles and values from International law and the standing need to dialogue among all and each of us”, added the Paraguayan leader.
Cartes said he dreams with an integrated America, not only in trade terms but infrastructure and above all in human and cultural aspects.
“That is the vision with which I have come to the summit and with those ideals for which I am committed to fight. The Paraguayan government is and will always be, open to all nations of the region and the world that seek unity to the benefit of our peoples”, concluded Cartes.
As part of Friday’s ceremony Peruvian president Ollanta Humala handed the pro tempore presidency of Unasur to his peer from Suriname, Desiré Delano Bouterse, for the next twelve months.
Although all South American countries were represented, the presidents of Argentina Cristina Fernandez; Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos; Chile, Sebastian Piñera and Jose Mujica from Uruguay were absent.
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The meeting was made official by the Paraguayan presidency office and twits from the Planalto Palace, seat of the Brazilian executive.Aug 31st, 2013 - 12:53 am 0
Twits... ? hmmm
UNASUR doesn't seem to be getting much traction with 1/3 of its leaders absent. I had high hopes when it started but it is mostly a talking shop with little concrete actions.Aug 31st, 2013 - 12:53 am 0
However it might just take some time to develop as it is a natural union for economic and political reasons.
Hopefully, SA can evolve into a mature economic trade allianceAug 31st, 2013 - 12:58 am 0