Uruguay's Foreign Ministry Monday submitted a formal request to the Argentine government to hold a meeting to discuss the flexibility of Mercosur, it was reported.
Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo Monday sent a formal note to his Argentine colleague Felipe Solá, requesting a meeting between the two of them together with their Paraguayan and Brazilian peers as well as the economy ministers of the four countries to exclusively address the issue of making the bloc more flexible.
Bustillo has already conveyed to Solá his country's plan to create a consultation system consisting of these eight high-rank officials on December 15 as Uruguay was passing over to Argentina the bloc's pro-tempore presidency.
In any case, the Uruguayan delegation is already said to be working on structuring a report to be submitted at the biannual meeting scheduled for April 22 with a broader agenda.
The issue of flexibility generated a dispute between Uruguay President Luis Lacalle Pou and his Argentine peer Alberto Fernández during the March 26 virtual summit marking Mercosur's 30th anniversary.
“It is the moment to move forward together. Obviously, Mercosur weighs heavily on the international scene. What should not be, and cannot be, is a burden. We are not willing to make it a corset ”, Lacalle Pou said then.
His comment generated the reaction of the Argentine, who took the floor before closing the ceremony to answer him.
“The truth is that we did not want to be a burden to anyone. The easiest thing is to get off the boat if that load is heavy. Let's put an end to those ideas that help so little. We don't want to be anyone's burden. If we are a burden, let them take another ship, but we are nobody's burden. It is an honour for me to be a part of Mercosur,” Fernández replied.
Meanwhile, the Uruguayan daily El Observador Monday reported Argentina, bowing to pressure from the other Mercosur partners, has already developed a proposal to gradually cut down tariffs or strike them on some 1900 items with limited to zero impact on the industry.
Uruguay made those announcements as US Admiral Craig S. Faller of the Southern Command is due in Montevideo Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss education and technical training programs, assistance in response to the covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters, peacekeeping operations and joint measures to combat illegal fishing.