The Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, affirmed that the meetings held today among heads of state in the capital of Uruguay represent “a consolidation of the South American spirit.”
In Amorim’s view, the meetings are meant to strengthen regional integration without excluding other countries. “No one wants to form an axis,” he said.
The Minister made this declaration after taking part in an encounter between President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the President of Peru, Alejandro Toledo.
President Lula also met with the Presidents of Argentina, Néstor Kirchner, and Venezuela, Hugo Chávez. According to Amorim, the meeting among the three countries will permit “a trilateral collaboration that is not exclusive.”
The Minister also emphasized that Venezuela’s entry as a member of the Mercosur is not intended to weaken the community of Andean countries – a group to which Venezuela belongs.
According to Amorim, the purpose of the integration agreements is for all South American countries to have a single Common External Tariff (CET).
Amorim also disclosed that Lula’s encounter with Kirchner and Chávez dealt with matters concerning the energy sector and the shipbuilding industry. He said that Venezuela needs to build more petroleum vessels and intends to do this in conjunction with Brazilian industries.
As another example of business relations among these countries, the Minister referred to the US$ 200 million loan by Brazil’s National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES) to the Argentinean TGS – Southern Gas Transportation Company – for the construction of a gas pipeline that will carry gas from southern Patagonia to Buenos Aires, in Argentina.
Translation: David Silberstein