The foreign ministers of Mercosur founding members will adopt a common position regarding the current disarray of the group following on Venezuela's unilateral attitudes said Paraguayan economic affairs and integration deputy minister Rigoberto Gauto.
”We expect the ministers (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) to make a decision on the role of Venezuela and then advance on a definition of the situation and back to business as usual, affirmed Gauto, and when asked when the meeting was scheduled he simply replied, the sooner the better.
The official said a definition on the situation is needed since most probably next October Mercosur and the European Union will hold a new round of talks on the cooperation and trade agreement.
Gauto participated in last Tuesday's Mercosur coordinators meeting in Montevideo with representative from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. The following day, Venezuela invoking the self proclaimed presidency of Mercosur called of a coordinators' meeting but was only attended by Uruguay and Bolivia.
There is no such thing as two Mercosur agendas, said the Paraguayan official. What Venezuela is doing is trying to attract international attention; the only agenda is that of the founding Mercosur members
Venezuelan foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez trip to India to advance trade talks have no significance, Venezuela is not part of those talks, which are from before they became members. She made a proposal but was not consulted in the name of the block”.
Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina have ignored Venezuela's announcements and are considering some kind of collective administration of Mercosur until next December when Argentina is scheduled to occupy the rotating six-month pro tempore chair.
Although Gauto did not advance any dates for the coming meetings of the Mercosur founding members, diplomatic sources from Brazil said that the first round of talks will be next week, most probably 2 September.
The current controversy erupted when Uruguay last 29 July devolved the presidency at the end of its six-month and admitted it was Venezuela's turn to hold the chair based of the alphabetical rotation. Venezuela then declared it was its turn and self proclaimed it holds the presidency of the group.
However Brazil and Paraguay object strongly to Venezuela arguing it has yet to fully comply with Mercosur rules and rulings, (as promised when its incorporation in 2012) plus the fact they question President Maduro's regime democratic credentials.
Argentina more diplomatically argues that the presidency was not transferred since it did not follow procedure, the meeting of the Common Market Council plus a report on the six/month from the outgoing chair and all the formalities of the case as has been for the last twenty five years.
Argentina's foreign minister Susana Malcorra, currently in the Middle East said that there had been advances to unlock the Mercosur situation, and that in a matter of hours there would be news on the issue.
A solution has been proposed to address the situation from now until the end of the year regarding the pro tempore rotating presidency, said Malcorra.
The Argentine minister did not advance details but said that the proposal was under consideration by Venezuela.
In Uruguay ex president Jose Mujica underlined that the Mercosur presidency means nothing and why all the fuss, anybody could hold the chair.
Mercosur president should be someone with minister status, but should hold the job in a permanent condition committed to regional integration proposed Mujica.
He added that according to his personal experience, the presidents of country members both from Mercosur and Unasur, meet for the family picture, make quick speeches because they have other domestic issues in their minds, and until next time.
If integration is to be achieved, we need a terrific political will and presidents should have next to them a standing official, full committed to the job, forget the foreign ministers, they are too busy.
Mujica added that if he had been in Maduro's shoes I would have said Venezuela has all the legal right to demand the presidency of Mercosur, but since above all he is Bolivarian and is fully determined with integration, keep the presidency and do whatever you want with it, but please multiply Mercosur.