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Felipe Solá says Brazil’s ‘hostile attitude has killed debate within Mercosur’

Argentina’s foreign minister slams Brazilian government during visit to Rio to mark 30th anniversar­y of nuclear accord between two nations.


Brazil’s “hostile attitudes have killed debate within Mercosur,” in particular due to the negative stances of its ultra-liberal Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, complained Foreign Minister Felipe Solá in an interview published by the newspaper O Globo.

“With Brazil there is no debate, whether with ministers, academics, businessme­n or trade unions, all that is unthinkabl­e,” affirmed Solá during a visit to Rio de Janeiro on Monday to celebrate the 30th anniversar­y of the agreement for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Uruguay’s announceme­nt that it will be unilateral­ly seeking trade agreements with countries and blocs beyond Mercosur plus Brasilia’s pressure to reduce the Common External Tariff are stirring up the discrepanc­ies within the grouping completed by Paraguay.

“Brazil’s position is personalis­ed by a group of economists controllin­g the Economy Ministry. Their hostile attitudes have killed debate ... Mercosur is numbed,” underlined Solá, describing the refusal of the ministry under Guedes to converse with their Argentine colleagues as “a very negative attitude.”

The orders came from Guedes and then “there was a sincere confirmati­on [from the Brazilian Foreign Ministry] that Brazil’s position was that of the minister Guedes. I was told that explicitly. The minister Guedes believes that he can lower prices in Brazil by trimming tariffs by 10 percent since by lowering the price of imports, Brazilian producers would be obliged to lower their prices,” affirmed Solá.

At the Mercosur Summit on July 8, Brazil’s far right president Jair Bolsonaro criticised “the use of the consensus rule as a veto instrument” within the bloc but President Alberto Fernández defended consensus “as the constituti­onal spine” of the grouping.

“Argentina is behaving like somebody who wants to preserve a marriage despite what others do. (...) There was no agreement at the summit but Argentina has made an enormous effort over the last year and a half to approximat­e the Brazilian proposal to reduce the common external tariff,” added Solá.

The relations between Brazil and Argentina have been strained ever since Bolsonaro criticised the election of Fernández as president and deteriorat­ed even more due to their difference­s within Mercosur.


The 30th anniversar­y of the peaceful use of nuclear energy is considered to be a pioneering mechanism for non-proliferat­ion which, however, today faces growing mistrust between the two countries and new geopolitic­al challenges.

The creation in 1991 oft he Argent in ebrazilia nA gencyforAc­co un tingand Control ofNuclearM ate rials(ABACC)“w as a watershed” in the bilateral relationsh­ip, Argentina’s Rafael Grossi, the directorge­neral of the Internatio­nal Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who participat­ed in the ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, told AFP.

The ABACC is based on mechanisms for the mutual control of nuclear installati­ons and opened up the way for the consolidat­ion of the Treaty of Tlatelolco, signed in 1968 to prohibit nuclear weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The inspection­s are carried out in a total of 77 installati­ons (for manufactur­ing fuel, enriching uranium, reactors, research centres, etc.), 51 of them in Argentina and 26 in Brazil, according to ABACC data.

But things have changed in 30 years and the agreement must “evolve, placing ABACC atale v el corres pon dingtot he dimensions of the nuclear plans in both countries instead of sleeping on our laurels, said Grossi. “In a situation in which there are forces which did not exist or were not presents 30 years ago and in which both countries have a nuclear capacity, it is evident that [the agreement] must be calibrated and adjusted and the entire system brought up to its task,” he added.

Solá, also present at the Rio celebratio­ns, estimated in the O Globo interview that an agreement like 1991 “would not be possible today because a natural distrust would quickly arise with ideology overtaking the issues.”

 ?? TELAM ?? Foreign Minister Felipe Solá (right) meets Brazilian officials in Rio de Janiero on Monday.
TELAM Foreign Minister Felipe Solá (right) meets Brazilian officials in Rio de Janiero on Monday.

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