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Paraguay backs Venezuela’s bid for full membership of Mercosur

Xinhua, China

Paraguay backs Venezuela’s bid for full membership of Mercosur

2 April 2008

CARACAS, April 1 (Xinhua) — Paraguay supports Venezuela’s bid for full membership of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), visiting Paraguayan Foreign Minister Ruben Ramirez said here Tuesday.

At a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro, Ramirez said Venezuela is an energy power and plays a leading role in regional issues. Therefore, it is necessary for Mercosur to accept Venezuela as its full member.

He believes Venezuela’s entrance will promote the regional integration process, the foreign minister added.

Ramirez also said Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte Frutos is a firm supporter of Venezuela’s Mercosur membership.

The Paraguayan parliament is discussing the issue and the government will urge the legislative body to approve Venezuela’s bid as soon as possible, he added.

In July 2006, Mercosur’s member states signed a protocol to admit Venezuela as a full member, but Caracas can finally enjoy the rights of a member state after the parliaments of the four member nations approve the protocol.

Mercosur, founded in 1991 in a bid to promote regional economic integration in Latin America, currently has four full members — Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.