Uruguay back stepped on its statements referred to Brazil's “bullying with the Mercosur presidency” and admits there was a misunderstanding regarding Brazil's invitation for a joint trade promotion in third countries, according to an official clarification Wednesday release from the Uruguayan foreign ministry.
On Tuesday the Brazilian foreign ministry summoned the Uruguayan ambassador following statements published in the Montevideo media in which foreign minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa said that Brazil tried to gain Uruguay's support in the Mercosur presidency controversy by offering to join a trade delegation to Africa and Iran, and insisted that Brazil was bullying with the Mercosur presidency
Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina do not accept that the pro tempore rotating chair should be occupied by Venezuela since it still has to comply with a minimum of Mercosur full member legal requirements, and the fact it self-proclaimed to such a position, with no official handover procedure or ceremony. Besides Brazil and Paraguay seriously question the democratic credentials of the Nicolas Maduro regime.
Nevertheless Uruguay which is accused of triggering the controversy by devolving the rotating presidency at the end of its six-month mandate, contrary to the intention of the triple alliance, insists in keeping to the book and refused to continue with the post. Venezuela took advantage of the situation and unilaterally took over the presidency.
Foreign minister Jose Serra visited Montevideo at the beginning of July to try and convince Uruguay not to turn in the rotating pro tempore presidency, but to no avail. Despite this Brazil said the presidency remains vacant, while Paraguay argued Venezuela was a de facto chair, and Argentina favored a collective interim presidency until 2017, when Argentina must take over the position.
In its Tuesday release the Brazilian ministry said it was deeply disappointed and surprised with Nin Novoa statements, given the excellent bilateral relations and the fact Brazil considers Uruguay a strategic partner.
So on Wednesday the Uruguayan foreign ministry circulated its clarification release in reply to Itamaraty, back stepping on the accusations arguing it was a misunderstanding and insisting on its commitment to Mercosur and the essential priority to avoid any sort of impasse which paralyzes the block's activities.
There was a misunderstanding regarding the Brazilian proposal for joint activities to promote trade between both countries and third markets, and it is now perfectly clear that is does not have any relation at all with the Mercosur pro tempore presidency transfer consideration.
The release says that in reference to the Press Communiqué from Brazil's Foreign ministry regarding statements from the visit of Brazil's foreign minister Jose Serra, last month in July, the following clarification is made.
The visit had two main objectives: the first was to consider and examine issues which belong to the bilateral relation and which constitute priority aspects for both sides. In second place was presenting Brazil's position on the transfer of the Mercosur pro tempore presidency to the member-country which should receive it according to the criteria already established inside the block.
The exchange of issues relative to bilateral relations was highly positive, and took place in the framework of close links of friendship and cooperation which characterize both countries and as qualified by the Itamaraty Communiqué from 16 August, have the characteristic of a strategic relation.
It must be added that there was a misunderstanding regarding the Brazilian proposal for joint activities to promote trade between both countries and third markets, and it is now perfectly clear that is does not have any relation at all with the Mercosur pro tempore presidency transfer consideration.
Uruguay understands that the essential priority is to avoid any impasse which paralyzes the activities of the block.
With the purpose of the ultimate objective of strengthening Mercosur both in its internal functioning as in its capacity to develop an agenda of active external negotiations, dialogue between member states results essential for this shared purpose”.