Mercosur declines request by Ukraine’s president’s to speak at summit

by Anadolu Agency

BOGOTA, Colombia 

South American trade bloc Mercosur has turned down a request by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to speak at its upcoming summit, host Paraguay said Wednesday.

Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, which make up the bloc, failed to reach an agreement on Zelenskyy’s request.

“There was no consensus,” Paraguay’s Vice Minister of Economic Relations and Integration, Raul Cano Ricciardi, said at a press conference, declining to disclose which countries had voted against it.

Zelenskyy had expressed his interest to his Paraguayan counterpart Mario Abdo Benitez in speaking at the summit, which will be held Thursday in Paraguay’s capital Asuncion.

The Ukrainian president has addressed various forums since Russia launched its war against his country in February, including NATO, the G7, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations.

“President Zelenskyy wants to address the member states of Mercosur on the occasion of the summit, which will take place in Paraguay and under the Paraguayan presidency,” its Foreign Affairs Minister, Julio Cesar Arriola, said on July 6.

According to Arriola, Benitez promised that he would “consult with his Mercosur peers” on Zelenskyy’s proposal, since decisions within the bloc “are taken by consensus.”

Although Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has said his country would remain “neutral” over Russia’s war on Ukraine, he recently confirmed his intention to strengthen a strategic partnership with Russia, while Russian President Vladimir Putin assured that his country would supply fertilizers to Brazil, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Bavaria, Germany in June. But in response to Argentina’s interest in joining the BRICS group of emerging economies, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced in June that the process for Argentina’s incorporation is underway.

Both Argentina and Brazil refrained from signing a joint statement on Feb. 25 by the Organization of American States (OAS) condemning the war.

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