Argentina Wants Both, Brazil and Venezuela, as Close Allies

Presidents Hugo Chávez and Cristina Kirchner Argentina's elected President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner confirmed that foreign policy is going to be one of the pillars of her administration and rejected the idea that "closeness" to Brazil means "taking distance" from Venezuela.

In a long interview with Buenos Aires daily Pagina 12 Mrs. Kirchner said "we're going to strengthen foreign policy and Venezuela will become a full member of Mercosur."

"The incorporation of Venezuela is important," she added pointing out that "(Brazilian) President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has talked about the need to expand Mercosur with Venezuela, and with her presence fulfilling the energy equation of our regional trade group."

"President Kirchner's foreign policy was very clear. It was basically to give Latinamerica another place. We're going to continue intensifying those regional relations".

The elected president said that Venezuela's incorporation still is pending from the congresses of Paraguay and Brazil "but I believe the Brazilian Lower House has already given its approval."

According to Mrs. Kirchner, the coming decades in the world will be marked "by the energy and food issue and in both Argentina has great opportunities and potential".

Finally referring to the alleged dichotomy of Argentina's links with Brazil and Venezuela she again underlined that "having Venezuela in Mercosur is very important" no matter that Brazil has discovered more oil.

"Brazil found oil offshore at a depth of 7.000 meters and for the exploitation to be profitable the barrel of oil must be at 100 US dollars or dearer. Why then should closeness with Brazil mean distancing from President Hugo Chavez, or my closeness to Chavez should mean distancing from Brazil," she asked.



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