“The best way to protect my people, my nation, is by opening myself up to the world”

“The best way to protect my people, my nation, is by opening myself up to the world”

The President of the Republic, Luis Lacalle Pou, participated in the 60th Summit of Heads of State of Mercosur and Associated States, which took place this Thursday 21 in Luque, Paraguay.

In his speech, he highlighted the Uruguayan policy of advancing in bilateral agreements with other states, and that this is not against the bloc. Furthermore, he advocated sincerity, understanding, and comprehension among nations.

The president exposed in the plenary session of Mercosur, after the opening of the head of State of Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, the report of the presidency pro tempore of that country’s bloc, by Foreign Minister Julio César Arriola, and interventions by the leaders of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, and Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro.

In his speech, the Uruguayan president thanked the hospitality of the Paraguayan people and the work of the host state. In addition, he celebrated the return to face-to-face meetings, which provide more possibilities for participation in the regional bloc. “We always come with a positive and constructive attitude,” he said.

Lacalle Pou stated that it is important that these meetings serve to open up the visions of each country and resolve the issues that require dialogue. “The maturity of the relationship between nations, between states, is the ability to resolve tensions,” he said.

He also argued that, to carry out this type of action, the members must understand and be understood, within the parameters established by the organization. In addition, he celebrated the agreement reached with Singapore and lamented the “little progress” in the negotiations with the European Union, which he described as a natural partner for Mercosur.

Likewise, he referred to the bilateral agendas between the countries and, on this point, highlighted, with Argentina, the joint monitoring of the watercourses and the progress in the negotiations for the bridge that will connect Bella Unión and the town of Monte Caseros; with Brazil, the signing of agreements that concern the free zones and the work of the waterway of the lagoons, and with Paraguay, the complementary agreements in geopolitics. “We have the dream of being Paraguay’s outlet to the sea,” he said.

Later, Lacalle Pou expressed Uruguay’s willingness to negotiate bilaterally with other states and that during all the bloc’s virtual forums in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it had expressed the Government’s desire in this regard.

On this point, he agreed with what was declared by the Brazilian Foreign Minister, Carlos Alberto França, at the Ordinary Meeting of the Mercosur Common Market Council, held on Wednesday 20, in terms of carrying out a process of modernization and flexibility of the regional body.

The president also referred to the completion of the feasibility study to begin negotiations for a free trade agreement with the People’s Republic of China and confirmed that in the coming days technical teams from both countries will begin work with that objective. “Once this stage is advanced, the first thing we want to do is talk to the Mercosur partners, is to go all together,” he said.

He also stressed that the will of Uruguay, which comes from previous governments as a State policy, is to advance in this agreement with China and, if possible, with regional partners, the better. “It’s a national sentiment,” he asserted.

The president explained the tranquility that assists the Government in the fact that, by taking these steps, it does not harm or erode the organization. “If we understand each other, we take care of each other and we understand each other,” he explained, and asked for understanding.

Likewise, Lacalle Pou reported that Uruguay’s international insertion agenda includes other ongoing negotiations and that in all cases the members of Mercosur will be duly informed. “As we did with China, we are going to do with other countries and other blocs,” she said.

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