Mercosur presidential summit off, but chair transfer to Venezuela will be done at foreign ministers’ level

Mercosur presidential summit next July in Montevideo has been cancelled, but the six-month presidency of the group, currently held by Uruguay will be transferred as scheduled to Venezuela, although some conditions of the event are “pending discussion”, said on Monday foreign ministers Susana Malcorra and host Rodolfo Nin Novoa.

(Merco Press) – “There won’t be any presidential summit, but yes the Mercosur chair transfer to Venezuela for the next six months will take place”, pointed out the two ministers in a press round following a meeting in Montevideo.

“The special political conditions which some country members are undergoing, such as Brazil and Venezuela, is the motive to cancel the summit” said Nin Nova who then argued that “the presidency handing ceremony is not necessarily associated to a presidential summit”.

“Uruguay strongly abides International Law and is also committed to Mercosur rules”, said Nin Novoa. These rules establish that the chair rotation is every six months, and since Uruguay currently is president of Mercosur, at the end of July it will make the transfer. “Before or after we´ll address the conditions to that respect”.

Nin Novoa added that the chair will be handed to Venezuela as rules indicate, but “Uruguay will continue addressing the foreign agenda, particularly referred to outer region issues, such as the current trade and cooperation negotiations with the European Union”.

In this case the transfer is done at foreign minister level, and thus Nin Novoa will be handing the symbols of the chair to his peer from Venezuela, Delcy Rodríguez.

Although Uruguay insisted with the presidential summit, the situation in Venezuela, Paraguay’s objection to the transfer to president Nicolas Maduro and Brazil´s interim president Michel Temer growing differences with Caracas, forced the decision to cancel the event.

Malcorra flew into Montevideo from Buenos Aires for a brief visit to address bilateral issues and apparently confirm Uruguay’s support for the Argentine foreign minister candidacy as the next UN Secretary General.

Paraguay’s ambassador before ALADI, (Latin American Integration Association), Hugo Saguier Caballero had stated that his country objected to the transfer of Mercosur chair to Venezuela, if no presidential summit took place.

Paraguay has a long pending request to address the political, social and economic situation in Venezuela, of which it is most critical, but since Mercosur members are divided on the issue, the request had been repeatedly postponed.