Foreign ministers of Brazil and Argentina aim for Mercosur progress

Mauro Vieira and Diana Mondino held a meeting in Brasília

Published on 27/11/2023 - 11:38 By Agência Brasil - São Paulo - Agência Brasil - São Paulo

Brazil's Foreign Minister, Mauro Vieira, described the meeting with Argentine Congresswoman-elect Diana Mondino, the foreign minister appointed by President-elect Javier Milei, as "productive." Vieira emphasized that, despite potential criticisms of Mercosur, the formal statements, and the shared desire of both countries to advance the bloc are what matter.

"We discussed, for example, the possibility of introducing bioceanic corridors, Mercosur's external negotiations, and the expansion and deepening of Mercosur's decisions. This is an area where we agree because we want a larger and more effective Mercosur to enhance regional integration," the minister stated at a press conference on Sunday (Nov. 26).

Brazil's presidency of Mercosur continues until December 7, just three days before Javier Milei assumes office. Although Milei initially advocated for Argentina's departure from the economic bloc during his campaign, he later shifted his stance to only proposing changes. Mercosur also includes Uruguay and Paraguay.

One of the agreements being negotiated during the Brazilian presidency is with the European Union. Approved in 2019 after 20 years of negotiations, the Mercosur-EU agreement requires ratification by the parliaments of all countries in the two blocs to take effect. The negotiation involves 31 countries.

"I indicated to her the areas in which we are negotiating during this Brazilian presidency of Mercosur, which is ending now, and the other countries and regions we are negotiating with. She expressed her satisfaction with that. That's what matters to me. We will continue working with this government until the end of its term and then with the new government, recognizing the shared desire to propel Mercosur forward," Vieira said.

Inauguration

During the meeting, Vieira received an invitation for President Lula to attend the Argentinian inauguration on December 10. "There is no problem of any kind, no embarrassment whatsoever. The governments organize the guest lists, send them out, and those who want to accept do so; those who don't accept don't. However, there is also a different treatment for heads of state and direct guests," he said considering the closeness of Javier Milei and former president Jair Bolsonaro.

The minister also stated that he had not had the opportunity to pass on the invitation to President Lula, and his presence at the inauguration is being evaluated. "What was said during the campaign is one thing; what happens during the government is another. I don't know, as I said, whether the president will be able to attend or not. He'll be returning from a long visit abroad and will have the Mercosur summit in Brazil," he explained.

BRICS

Concerning Argentina's potential inclusion in BRICS, a coalition comprising developing nations such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, the minister emphasized Brazil's favorable stance. However, he pointed out that the decision rests with the new government. "The Argentine government sought candidacy, and Brazil endorsed it as it aligns with Brazil's interests. It also aims to maintain a balanced geographical representation within BRICS, and naturally, Argentina holds significance as a key partner for Brazil."

Translation: Mário Nunes -  Edition: Camila Maciel

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