Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes begins on Monday a two-day visit to Chile where he is scheduled to meet his peer Sebastián Piñera and hold a round of talks with business people inviting them to invest in Paraguay. At the end of the month Cartes will be flying to Brasilia to meet President Dilma Rousseff.
“In Santiago we expect to advance in technical cooperation and delimit a free zone in the northern port of Antofagasta, which is (landlocked) Paraguay’s outlet to the Pacific” said foreign minister Eladio Loizaga.
He added that president Cartes would also meet with members of Congress the Judiciary branch and ‘continue advancing in areas of common interest’.
It is significant that Cartes should travel first to Chile, a member of the Pacific Alliance than to the other Mercosur members. In effect so far the Paraguayan leader visited Buenos Aires, but Brazil was left for the end of the month and Uruguay for October. Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay were the founding full members of Mercosur.
Since Paraguay was suspended from Mercosur in June 2012 following the removal by impeachment of Fernando Lugo, the country has been in a no hurry to take its place in Mercosur mainly because of differences over Venezuela that currently holds the rotating chair of the group.
With the election and inauguration of Cartes on 15 August, Mercosur lifted the suspension but Paraguay has said it first wants to rebuild bilateral relations with Mercosur members but at the same time has gained observer status at the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, plus Costa Rica and Panama in the process of becoming members) which is a more market oriented group, open to foreign investment and low tariffs.
This is contrary to Mercosur two senior members, Argentina and Brazil policies more inclined to appeal to measures to protect their markets, jobs and industry.
At the end of the month, and following the return from the UN General Assembly, Cartes is expected in Brasilia on 30 September to meet President Dilma Roussef and to talk about Mercosur, the European Union, the Itaipu hydroelectric complex and bilateral trade, according to Loizaga.
“The meeting with Dilma comes at a very important moment in the construction of our bilateral relation and above all is the continuation of talks that started in Asuncion, when the inauguration of president Cartes and continued at the Unasur summit in Suriname”, said foreign minister Loizaga.
“We want to make more dynamic all the framework of our bilateral relations with Brazil”.
The meeting with Uruguay’s Jose Mujica is scheduled for the first week of October in Montevideo.
Loizaga also revealed that Ecuador has requested the placet for its new ambassador in Asuncion. This is another important announcement since Ecuador, politically aligned with Venezuela and Bolivia, did not send any representative for Cartes inauguration in solidarity with Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro who was not invited to the ceremony.
“The next Ecuadorean ambassador is a professional diplomat and this was achieved because of the ‘personal relation’ worked out between Cartes and Correa during the last Unasur summit in Suriname. They got along very well”, said Loizaga.
Last week was Cartes first trip overseas to a country, Argentina where he met with Cristina Fernandez and agreed on an agenda to discuss among which, shared hydroelectric dams, infrastructure to further improve links between the neighbouring countries, combating poverty and a historic restitution of furniture which belonged to a Paraguayan leader, much admired in his country Francisco Solano Lopez and that were looted by Argentine forces during one of the bloodiest wars of the XIXth century in South America, also known as the genocide of the Paraguayan people (1865/1870).
“We share two powerful rivers and over a million Paraguayans who found in Argentina what we couldn’t give them in our country, as well as combating poverty, and promoting inclusion”, said Cartes at the press conference with Cristina Fernandez. .
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Cartes is doing a good job of restoring Paraguay´s relations with South America and building bridges between Mercosur, Alba and Pacific Alliance.Sep 16th, 2013 - 05:13 pm 0
Chile has already granted a free storage area for the goods from and in transit to Paraguay as part of the efforts to increase the U$ 700 million trade in the Pacific zone. Good move.Sep 16th, 2013 - 10:03 pm 0
2@ agreed, those are great news :-)Sep 17th, 2013 - 05:23 am 0