Brazil, Paraguay agree on conclusion of bridge linking the two
Bolsonaro and Benítez also discussed the Itaipu Treaty
Published in 25/11/2021 - 11:19 By Pedro Rafael Vilela - Brasília
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro met with his Paraguayan counterpart Mario Abdo Benítez in Brasília. Among the topics discussed are the construction of the second bridge linking the two countries, a revision of the treaty on the construction of the Itaipu Dam, efforts against organized crime in the border area, and the use of the hydroelectric power plant lake for commercial fish production.
“During this service visit, the noble president of Paraguay came to discuss a series of topics with us. For instance, we’ll be concluding the second bridge with Paraguay by mid next year, hopefully,” Bolsonaro said.
The bridge, whose construction is being financed as part of a partnership between company Itaipu Binacional and the government of the Brazilian state of Paraná, will link Foz do Iguaçu to the Paraguayan city of Presidente Franco. As it stands today, the only existing bridge between the two countries is Friendship Bridge, connecting Foz do Iguaçu to Ciudad del Leste.
Also according to Bolsonaro, the two presidents should follow a new agenda, this time to sign another order of service for the construction of a third bridge between the two countries, this time over River Paraguay, linking the cities of Porto Murtinho, Mato Grosso do Sul state, to Carmelo Peralta.
Also debated by both leaders were talks about Annex C of the Itaipu Treaty, to expire on 2023. The bilateral agreement was signed by the two countries in 1973 and oversaw the construction of the Itaipu Dam, the world’s biggest hydroelectric plant in energy production. The terms are to be revised two years from now as the two governments will have amortized the debt incurred to finance the project.
The main debate concerns the destination of the funds remaining after the loans are cleared, which may add up to approximately $1 billion a year in revenues.
Bolsonaro also mentioned the progress in negotiations to allow the lake of Itaipu Dam to be used for fish farming, with a focus on tilapia. The topic hinges on assessment by the Paraguayan Parliament.
Also discussed was organized crime in the border area. “I believe that both countries have shown a strong alliance and solid cooperation, which has brought great results in the fight against organized crime. In the case of Paraguay, we expelled a large number of people requested by the Brazilian court system, with the cooperation of the Brazilian government,” Abdo Benítez.
Also in his Wednesday (Nov. 24) address, in which he went over the topics covered with the Brazilian president, Abdo Benítez underscored the deep ties between the two countries and invited his counterpart to an official visit to Paraguay, which has not as yet taken place in his tenure.
“He owes an official visit to the people of Paraguay, my people, a country that likes and respects him. What brings us together today is not just the fact that we’re both presidents, but also our vision, principles, and democratic and libertarian values,” he said.
Translation: Fabrício Ferreira - Edition: Fernando Fraga / Nira Foster