Argentina and the new interim government of Brazil sealed this Monday their close relationship when foreign minister Jose Serra in a brief visit to Buenos Aires, his first overseas trip, met privately with President Mauricio Macri. . Earlier in the day the Brazilian official signed a memorandum of understanding for a bilateral mechanism of political coordination with his peer Susana Malcorra.
The mechanism will have as main objectives the exchange of a bilateral, regional and global agenda with the purpose of coordinating positions, and the follow up of strategic bilateral integration projects, particularly in the fields of science, technology and innovation, defense, air industry, energy, trade, as well as all those areas which the governments might consider a priority, explained Malcorra in reference to the 12-point MoU.
Attending the signing ceremony was Argentine finance minister Alfonso Prat-Gay, the Argentine ambassador in Brazil, Carlos Alfredo Magariños and were later joined by the acting president of the Senate, Federico Pinedo.
Malcorra made it a point to underline the commitment of the two countries to integration and the role Mercosur plays, and anticipated a common agenda inside the block and to advance joint negotiations with third countries, and groups of countries.
We need to improve Mercosur and incorporate new disciplines in line with the more modern integration processes, effectively advancing relevant issues of the agendas giving greater dynamism to foreign relations, both in the region and outer region, particularly in the context of current negotiations with the European Union and other processes on course, indicated the Argentine official.
While Serra was with Macri, Malcorra told the media that there is no reason to argue that the current process in Brazil, which suspended Rousseff, has not been legal. There is an internal situation and it has followed strictly what the institutional rules of Brazil signal, and we have followed events closely.
The minister added that this has been a clear signal of institutional continuity and of working with our main partner, as we have said in multiple occasions: Brazil is a strategic associate of Argentina and whatever happens in Brazil, impacts on Argentina, so we have no other alternative but to work with Brazil.
Malcorra said that the first meeting with Serra was very important because we established an inventory of where we stand, and we have decided on the next steps to continue working and this is only natural, as good neighbors and with partners such as Brazil.
Finally if at any moment the process which is ongoing, we believe it is not respecting the institutions as it should, then we would be in a position to review the whole situation. But so far, this is not happening and we feel very solid in that respect, underlined the Argentine minister.
In effect Argentina, and the Macri administration were the first to recognize the new situation in Brazil, (The Argentine government respects the developing institutional process), despite the fact that other countries close to the suspended Rousseff have been critical and referred to the Temer administration as illegitimate and the result of a congressional 'coup'. Other countries in the region have not criticized but have remained silent or adopted the attitude of business as usual.
When asked specifically about the countries critical of the impeachment process against Rousseff, Malcorra admitted there are countries in the Americas with a different reading of events and have gone as far as considering implementing the OAS democratic clause against Brazil, but we don't see it that way or have we seen it along the process, which has not happened overnight.
In other words the administration of president Macri has become the great ally of Temer's government, with whom they share an orthodox approach to economics and public affairs management, plus a foreign policy closer to Washington, than the so called 'progressive' nations movement headed by Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba, Nicaragua.
Serra is a heavy weight of the Brazilian political system: senator, ex mayor of Sao Paulo city, ex governor of Sao Paulo state and twice presidential candidate. He has also repeated that Brazilian foreign policy will be geared by the country's interest, not subject to any ideological or party leanings.
Apparently Serra on taking the job insisted that Itamaraty, Brazil's foreign office, be left out of internal politics, as has been the tradition of Latin America's largest country historically, which was severely conditioned since Lula da Silva and Rousseff took office, turning the office into a mirror of their administration's militancy, and replacing professionals by the so called 'beards', identified with domestic politics.
The Argentine government has changed, and so has the Brazilian government, so we must begin a new chapter, Serra was quoted.
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No doubt, this new alliance will be working together to take the region back to wealth accumulation schemes in which a few are obscene rich and the rest are merely surviving.May 24th, 2016 - 05:39 pm 0
It remains to be seen how successful these two pals are in convincing citizens to resign the last decade improvements without using, as in the past, the brutal power of tanks and bullets.