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Mercosur Member States Deliberate What to Do with Venezuela

07/12/2016 - 10h35

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SAMY ADGHIRNI
FROM CARACAS

CLÓVIS ROSSI
FOLHA COLUMNIST

Mercosur representatives gathered this Monday (11) in Montevideo to make a decision about whether or not Venezuela should take over the reigns as rotating President of the organisation.

However, the member states were unable to overcome their differing opinions and reach a conclusion. In the end, the decision has been postponed.

This Tuesday (12) Uruguay's six month period as leader of Mercosur comes to a close. According to the standard process, which works by alphabetical order, the next in line is Venezuela. This transfer is proving more than just a bit polemic.

Mercosur has been waiting for Venezuela to implement all the tariffs and commercial and legal rules previously agreed by the trade organisation. The final deadline for this has been set for August.

Michel Temer, the interim President of Brazil, argues that Caracas should only take presidency once these measures have been properly adopted.

According to Folha's sources, in the discussions between Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, it was the Brazilian delegation that suggested postponing the decision. Many of the members agreed that this was a sensible course of action.

Uruguay, however, has suggested that the representatives consult with the heads of state of the countries in the trade block, before gathering once more on Thursday (14) in Montevideo.

Civil servants for the Brazilian government have implied that Brazil will not join these discussions, since it has already made its opinion clear. Paraguay is also not expected to participate.

For the meeting this Monday, Brazil sent a General Sub-Secretary, the ambassador Paulo Estivallet, instead of the Chancellor José Serra. Argentina also send a Vice Minister.

After the meeting, the Uruguayan Chancellor, Rodolfo Nin Novoa, said that "each one of the member states maintained their stance in the debate" but that they "had until Thursday to consult with all the other countries."

This refutes the declaration made hours previously by the Venezuelan Chancellor, Delcy Rodríguez, that Venezuela will receive the rotating presidency in the next few days.

Translated by GILLIAN SOPHIE HARRIS

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