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Montevideo, July 25th 2024 - 05:57 UTC



Mercosur Summit: Peña admits setbacks have always existed

Monday, July 8th 2024 - 20:27 UTC
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Peña favored solving Mercosur's problems and challenges “with more Mercosur” Peña favored solving Mercosur's problems and challenges “with more Mercosur”

Minutes before passing Mercosur's rotating presidency to Uruguay's Luis Lacalle Pou, Paraguayan head of state Santiago Peña pointed out Monday that during his 6-month tenure achievements had been made, albeit amid painful setbacks that have existed since the alliance was created. In addition, the Colorado ruler once again underlined the importance of fighting corruption and drug trafficking.

During the bloc's 64th Summit held in Asunción, Peña also underscored the significance of dynamic and democratic integration for the region, where people “yearn for leaders with goals and purposes.”

“This summit offers us an opportunity to bring Mercosur even closer to our people. I reiterate my conviction that Mercosur is a successful example of integration and that there is no other way, we integrate as peoples or we disintegrate and fail,” he added.

Peña also urged his fellow Presidents from Brazil, Uruguay, and Bolivia “to leave behind speeches and words and go decisively into action” because the democracy “we defend with so much fervor should not be a mere lyrical declaration, but should have an intense and vigorous content.” Nevertheless, he reckoned there was “still much to be done.”

“Our integration process is already more than 30 years old and faces great challenges and many of them, linked to the original objectives of the Asuncion Treaty, have had ups and downs and thus there have been great advances, but also very hard setbacks,” Peña stressed while insisting on his commitment to “regional integration” not “to pursue an unattainable utopia” but to uphold a “genuine interest in the welfare of our peoples.”

Regarding Paraguay's management of the temporary presidency, he mentioned that “they tried to honor the ideal of coherent integration and unity among nations”, even though it was not easy due to “real differences and conflicting interests and huge historical debts.” In this regard, Peña favored solving Mercosur's problems and challenges “with more Mercosur.”

Earlier Monday, Peña addressed Argentina's Javier Milei skipping the Summit, despite which the world would not stop and, therefore, the integration process should move on. “I could not get President Milei to come, but well... we have to be respectful with each country,” Peña said while admitting that Paraguay's relationship with Milei and Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was “very good.” Milei dodged the gathering to avoid meeting face-to-face with the PT leader, of whom he spoke in derogatory terms on more than one occasion and refused to apologize. “We will continue seeking to build bridges between Latin American countries,” Peña remarked.

He also pointed out that any negotiation with China would have to be undertaken from a bloc perspective because Paraguay was not willing to relinquish its good ties with Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a rogue province under the One China principle. ”We are not willing to give up our relations of more than 66 years with the Republic of China (Taiwan),” Peña asserted.

Categories: Politics, Mercosur, Paraguay.

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