Chí¡vez Says in Brazil His Socialism Will Help All of South America

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said this Thursday, Janeiro 18, in Rio de Janeiro, during the Mercosur's summit, that talks with Brazil regarding the so-called Gas Pipeline of the South are advancing.

"The presidents of PDVSA and Petrobras (respectively the Venezuelan and Brazilian national oil companies) have advanced significantly in the matter of bringing gas from Venezuela down, first crossing through the northeastern state of Pernambuco," he said, on arrival at the Copacabana Palace hotel, in Rio de Janeiro, where the Mercosur Summit is taking place.

According to him, "Brazil does not need to worry as all the gas that the country needs, mainly in the North and Northeast, is in Venezuela."

The Gas Pipeline of the South is an ambitious project to cover a distance of 8,000 kilometers that, if developed, will bring gas from Venezuela to Brazil and from Brazil to other South American countries.

When asked whether the "socialism of the 21st century" – the term he conned on being sworn in for his third term as president of Venezuela – may harm the Mercosur, Chavez said it could not.

"It is the socialism of the 21st century, it is aimed at strengthening Venezuela and this will be favorable to South America, and if one party is strengthened, the rest is too," he finished off.

Gulf

Foreign ministers of the Mercosur member countries and the undersecretary general for Economic Affairs at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Mohamed Obaid Al-Mazrooei, signed a statement reporting on the status of negotiations between the two blocs for a free trade agreement.

"It is with great pleasure that we sign this statement, attesting to the advanced state of negotiations for the agreement between Mercosur and the GCC," said the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim.

Amorim also said that the agreement is quite ambitious, therefore it has not been concluded yet, but that various sections of the agreement are already agreed upon. Al-Mazrooei expressed satisfaction with the signing of the statement and reaffirmed that the final agreement will be inked in June. He qualified the Mercosur as one of the world's most important economic blocs.

The document was also signed by the foreign ministers of Argentina, Jorge Taiana, of Paraguay, Rubén Ramí­rez Lezcano, and of Uruguay, Reinaldo Gargano. The agreement will regulate the trade of goods, services and investments, and went into negotiation in May 2005, at the Summit of South American – Arab Countries, held in Brasí­lia, the capital of Brazil.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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