Paraguayan Foreign Minister, Julio César Arriola, ruled out on Thursday a break up within the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and ratified that his country supports that the decisions of that integration mechanism be adopted jointly and by consensus.
The Mercosur bloc is not going to break, Arriola told Paraguay's Radio 780 AM, a day after Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, Uruguay's Mercosur partners, threatened Montevideo with retaliatory measures should it insist on negotiating a free trade agreement outside the bloc.
In other statements to journalists, Arriola assured that his country remains respectful of the Treaty of Asunción, by means of which Mercosur was established, and the complementary protocol of Ouro Preto.
Both documents, he added, refer specifically to the fact that Mercosur member states must always negotiate as a bloc and by consensus.
And we are sticking to that line, said the foreign minister, who attended the fourth day of the novena in honor of the Virgin of Caacupé, together with Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez and the cabinet of ministers.
In this sense, Arriola anticipated that this will be one of the topics of the summit on December 5 and 6, when Uruguay hands over the pro tempore presidency of Mercosur to Argentina.
The Mercosur partners made a statement on Wednesday in view of the Uruguayan government's measures aimed at the individual negotiation of trade agreements with tariff dimensions and in view of the partner's intention to submit a request for accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The rules of this mechanism only allow its members to negotiate free trade agreements as a bloc and veto individual approaches.
In this regard, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez said on Wednesday that Uruguay's intention denaturalizes the essence of Mercosur, although he admitted that it is something that has been discussed in Uruguay for a long time.