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Montevideo, May 19th 2024 - 08:41 UTC



Lula and Abdo discuss Itaipú, Unasur, and UE deal

Friday, March 17th 2023 - 10:18 UTC
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Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva Thursday told his Paraguayan colleague Mario Abdo Benítez about his intentions to reorganize Unasur and reinforce Mercosur's unity. Lula and Abdo met at the Itaipu hydroelectric power plant in Foz do Iguazú.

 Lula insisted one of his government's diplomatic goals was to strengthen the unity of Mercosur and the “reorganization” of the South American Union of Nations (Unasur), arguing that his country, as the largest economy, must share economic growth with its neighbors. The Workers' Party leader also expressed his concern about what he called South America's “peace and tranquility.”

Both Presidents met on the occasion of the appointment of Itaipu's new Brazilian director: Enio Verri, on the 50th anniversary of the treaty that created the second power plant of its kind in the world, after the Chinese Three Gorges.

“We do not want a rich Brazil surrounded by poor countries. Brazil has to combine its growth with that of its neighbors. Brazil, as a big brother, has the responsibility that its neighbors grow to live in a continent of peace and tranquility and never again repeat the ignorant gesture of war, as already happened between Brazilians and Paraguayans,” said Lula about the 1864-1870 conflict.

“I return with the firm will to reorganize Unasur, [because] everyone understands the need for peace and tranquility and the exercise of democracy. To guarantee that we stop being poor or developing, we have the right to grow and we have to grow and distribute growth. It cannot be that people are going through hardships,” Lula also said.

The Unasur initiative was dropped when Mauricio Macri in Argentina and Michel Temer in Brazil opted out to join the Lima Group, created at the behest of Chile's Sebastián Piñera in 2019.

Lula and Abdo also highlighted the progress of the construction of the bioceanic corridor, which will link by road the port of Santos in Brazil with the Chilean ports of Antofagasta and Iquique, passing through Paraguay and northern Argentina.

The Brazilian Foreign Ministry stressed in a statement that the Itaipu power plant “is a symbol of the friendship between Brazil and Paraguay and constitutes a historic milestone of the bilateral partnership”.

At the bilateral meeting Thursday, both presidents also discussed the trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union and, according to the Paraguayan side, agreed to “give impetus” to the negotiations.

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