A top Paraguayan official will be travelling to Colombia to establish 'closer links' with the Pacific Alliance and advance with the country's full membership request. Paraguay currently with observer status is also waiting for the official invitation to participate in the Pacific Alliance summit scheduled for 22 June in Mexico.
The announcement followed the visit to Asuncion of Colombian Deputy foreign minister Patti Londoño who met with her peers in the framework of the Paraguay-Colombia political and trade discussions mechanism, according to what was agreed by foreign ministers Eladio Loizaga and Maria Angeles Holguin last 24 March.
”We are very pleased to have Paraguay as an observer of the Alliance (Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico), but each country must agree on the areas it will be concentrating efforts and links with the founding members of the group, said Ms Londoño.
The Pacific Alliance already has 30 observer-countries, which is part of the integration effort in several areas and the links we establish with observers”, added the Colombian official.
Paraguayan Deputy foreign minister Federico González who will be travelling to Colombia said that the timetable for his trip is conditioned by the Alliance summit in Mexico on 22 June.
On the bilateral level Ms Londoño said that Colombia reiterated support in areas such as security, combating terrorism and migration, while Paraguay has pledged to counter with fluvial and agriculture issues. A new area to advance according to the officials, is the initiative of 'sports diplomacy' which consists in taking children from 'difficult' areas and encourage them to participate in sports events.
Landlocked Paraguay has close security and antiterrorism links with Colombia since an incipient guerrilla movement in rural areas of the country (EPP), involved in kidnapping for ransom and killing police officers, has strong links with Colombia's FARC according to intelligence sources in both countries.
Paraguay became observer of the Pacific Alliance on 23 May 2013 during the summit in Cali, Colombia. This was possible because of the strong support from the group's members since at the time Paraguay had been suspended from Mercosur and was exposed to diplomatic isolation.
Paraguay's aspiration to join the Pacific Alliance is not seen with good eyes by Brazil or Argentina the main partners of Mercosur.