Bolivia's de facto government will be at a Mercosur summit marked by changes


RIO DE JANEIRO (Sputnik) – The Chancellor of the de facto Government of Bolivia, Karen Longaric, will be at the Mercosur summit held on December 4 and 5 in Bento Goncalves, and will be marked by the political crises of various countries of the region and for the transition of the governments of Argentina and Uruguay.

Brazilian Foreign Ministry sources confirmed to Sputnik the presence of the Bolivian Foreign Minister, as well as outgoing President Mauricio Macri and Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benitez, the only leader with whom Brazilian Head of State Jair Bolsonaro will hold a bilateral meeting , according to the official agenda.
Also present will be the Vice President of Uruguay, Lucia Topolansky, and the Chancellor of Chile, Teodoro Ribera.

The first day of the summit will focus on the plenary sessions of the foreign ministers, while the presidents will meet on Thursday 5.

The situation in Bolivia and Chile and the changes in government in Uruguay and Argentina could focus a good part of the talks, as well as the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum in Brazil and Argentina.

Argentine Production Minister Dante Sica said Tuesday that he will seek a bilateral meeting with Brazil to discuss the issue.
However, it is unlikely that a joint strategy will be drawn up, since the Macri administration ends on December 10, when elected president Alberto Fernandez will take office.

In recent weeks, there were tensions between the Government of Jair Bolsonaro and the new Argentine Executive; The ultra-rightist leader came to consider Brazil's exit from the block if the Peronist rejects the current trade agreement policy of the block.

Last week, the secretary of bilateral and regional negotiations of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pedro Miguel da Costa e Silva, said he "awaits the definition of the new Argentine authorities" to start putting the issues on the table.

Apart from the short-term issues, another issue that is on the block's agenda is the reduction of the common external rate; However, given that Macri (who along with Bolsonaro was the main supporter of the need to lower that rate) will not continue, the negotiation will become more difficult.

The summit was baptized by the Brazilian Government as "Dome of the Valley of the Vineyards" for the place where it will take place, which seeks to boost itself from the tourist point of view, and will include the planting of vineyards by the presidents.

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