Brazil presented the Mercosur Joint Parliamentary Commission, which is meeting in BrasÀlia, with a document containing proposals for the settlement of outstanding disputes among the countries of South America.
In a series of meetings that got underway on Monday, May 15, the members of the commission are evaluating suggestions aimed at an agreement between Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia over natural gas and an understanding between Brazil and Paraguay over migration rules and other differences of opinion concerning the two countries’ border region.
The members are also discussing the controversy surrounding the construction of cellulose factories on the banks of the Uruguay River, which separates Uruguay and Argentina. The projects, on the Uruguayan side of the river, have given rise to tensions between the two countries since January.
In a meeting with the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, the members of the commission called for a speedy approval of the project creating the Mercosur Parliament, which, among its other functions, will be responsible for mediating diplomatic disputes.
The legislative organ is provided for in an international agreement, but its concretization depends upon congressional approval in each of the member states.
A Venezuelan delegation is also present at this month’s meeting of the commission. Venezuela is in the process of adhering to the bloc, and its representatives currently participate in the internal debates as observers.
The president of the Venezuelan delegation, deputy Saul Ortega, assured that, despite the crisis the Mercosur is undergoing, his country is determined to join the bloc.
Last month the Venezuelans withdrew from the Andean Community in protest against the free trade agreements that Peru and Colombia signed with the United States.
"The Andean Community is definitely a thing of the past. That is why we came to the South. We believe that there is more political will and conscience here. For this reason we are betting on the evolution of this integration project," Ortega emphasized.