Lula Goes to Argentina on a Fence-Mending Mission

Brazilian President Lula Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the president of Brazil is expected in Argentina on Sunday to have his first meeting with Argentinian President,  Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, since the two nations clashed at the Doha round trade negotiations which collapsed on Tuesday, July 28, in Geneva.

Lula will arrive on Sunday night and have dinner with Kirchner and on Monday he will be present at the inauguration of a seminar for businessmen, returning to Brazil the same afternoon.

Regarding the motives of the visit, Marcel Baumbach, a spokesman for the Brazilian president, said: "The idea that president Lula is taking with him to Argentina is that we must strengthen the mechanisms of co-operation in Mercosur as the best way of dealing with the gap left by the events in Geneva."

By mentioning Geneva, Baumbach was referring to the difficulties between Argentina and Brazil in the Doha round trade negotiations when Brasí­lia was willing to accept a higher level of industrial protection than was acceptable to the former, a position that was regarded by some in Buenos Aires as "treachery."

Nevertheless both countries want to put the dispute behind them, according to David Fleischer, a political analyst at the University of Brasí­lia, who said: 'Brazil and Argentina had a disagreement and Lula's visit will be a good opportunity to resolve it. Both parties have an interest in putting this matter behind them."

He also pointed out that Brazil wants to increase its wheat imports from Argentina while Argentina wants to continue importing electricity and natural gas during a season where demand for them is very high due to the winter.

BAH

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