Lula and Chí¡vez Put Brazil-Venezuela Relations Back on Track

Presidents Chávez and Lula Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, assured this Thursday, September 20, that his country is working so that Venezuela, definitely, gets his full member entry into the Southern Common Market (Mercosur).

From Manaus, and after finishing a meeting with the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frias, Lula wanted to clarify some aspects about Venezuela's entry into the Mercosur, which he considers that have been distorted.

"Brazil is working on a process at the Senate to make Venezuela full member of the Mercosur and to make other countries able to join as well, because Mercosur is a need and we need to develop it," he stressed.

"We are doing an effort to get this agreement fulfilled as soon as possible and to make Chávez' next visit to be as Mercosur full member," he added.

Lula stated that there is no thriller in Venezuela and Brazil relation.

"Some people in the world do not want to accept that there are progressive governments," Lula said, referring to Venezuela.

In other issues they agreed to forge ahead with two joint ventures between their state-run oil companies and a natural gas pipeline that would stretch across the Amazon rainforest.

Both Presidents signed a series of accords to speed the projects that had been agreed upon earlier but had gotten bogged down in bureaucracy.

"We intend to sign the contacts in December in Caracas," Lula said. "With these partnerships we are showing that South America can resolve its energy problems."

In other subjects Chávez at Manaus said the Bank of the South would probably start operations in November and that the first head offices would be in Caracas.

"Evo (Morales) and I are ready to start; we have a date, in November, with the Bank of the South, based in Caracas. We cannot wait any more," Chávez said.

He recalled also that Venezuela could provide US$ 1 billion to start operations and that the Bank of the South would serve initially to fund development projects.

Lula and Chávez decided that government officials from their governments will be meeting every three months from now on alternating between Brazil and Venezuela, "so that we," as Lula put it, "will not allow that enemies of the Venezuela-Brazil strategic alliance interfere in our alliances with rumors. Rumors will be dealt with in our personal conversation."

Mercopress

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