The national chancellor, Julio César Arriola, said on Monday that a project for the elaboration of a plan for navigability on the section of the Paraguay-Paraná waterway is “in a preliminary stage of evaluation”, and described as “technical” the cooperation from the United States to your country in this matter.
During an appearance before a Senate commission, the Minister of Foreign Affairs indicated that the project is conceived as a “exercise of bilateral cooperation” and of job “between technical instances” from Paraguay and the US, including the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Its objective is to carry out studies to elaborate a Master Plan for the Navigability of the Paraguay Riverbased on the formulation, evaluation, comparison and selection of economically viable, environmentally sustainable and technically sound alternatives”, explained the official.
Arriola’s appearance took place after versions about an alleged discomfort expressed by Buenos Aires to Asunción due to the alleged presence of American military engineers in the country.
In his speech, the head of diplomacy clarified that the project does not foresee, “in all its execution”carrying out engineering works or direct interventions in the river.
“I reiterate we are talking about studies”insisted the minister, who referred to the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as a “technical” body.
Arriola also clarified that the scope of application of a possible navigability plan will be in a section “under exclusive sovereignty” of our country in the Paraguay River, between its confluence with the Apa River to the Pilcomayo River.
In his exposition, The foreign minister highlighted that 80% of his country’s foreign trade moves through the Paraguay and Paraná rivers.
“In the year 2021 alone, more than 14 million tons of products have been transported, worth 10,000 million dollars,” he said, illustrating that 65% of the cargo corresponds to exports and the remaining 35% to imports.
On Saturday, the President of the Republic, Mario Abdo Benítez, told journalists that there is a project from 8 or 9 years ago on an offer from the US Corps of Engineers “to do the design, not the intervention” from the river.
“It is a design of how we can intervene in the waterway to have a better flow,” he clarified.