December 13, 2013
Cartes to rebuild relationship with Argentina
Paraguay´s new president comments on talks held with CFK on Thursday
ASUNCIÓN — Paraguay’s new president Horacio Cartes said that in his meeting with his Argentina counterpart, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, there was “a great atmosphere to re-build all relationships,” stressing the importance for both countries to construct new bridges and binational hydroelectric plants.
Regarding his meeting with CFK, President Cartes said that they spoke specifically about hydroelectric works in Corpus, expanding Yacyretá, and the installation of machinery in Ana Cua.
He remarked: “They are common interests, just different relationships... I think we have the same understanding of the importance of generating wealth with those works.”
When asked by the Paraguayan press, Cartes also said that the initiative of installing a nuclear power plant in Argentina is being managed by the Foreign Ministry, and he spoke about the Argentine health model, particularly in the province of Misiones.
The recently appointed president stressed that immunizations in his country should be at the level of Nordic countries and said “I would be the happiest man if I got to see what I saw happening in Misiones working throughout the Republic of Paraguay.”
Also, in a joint press statement released yesterday, foreign ministers Eladio Loizaga of Paraguay and Héctor Timerman of Argentina, held a bilateral meeting where they discussed the newly elected president’s invitation to visit Argentina with the aim of putting “emphasis on connectivity and border infrastructure.”
Both officials agreed to re-implement existing bilateral exchange between the two countries, review the regional situation and discuss major international issues pertinent to the area. Timerman also delivered a letter from the governor of Entre Ríos, Sergio Urribarri, which said that the belongings of Mariscal Francisco Solano López, which are currently in a museum, would be returned to Paraguay.
For his part, Loizaga, reported that in the bilateral meeting he had with his Argentine counterpart Timerman, they spoke about connecting the areas of Neembucú and Pilcomayo with new bridges.
Yesterday, Cartes also said he’s willing to sell off his cigarette-making business that has often drawn criticism from foreign governments worried about contraband.
At a news conference on his first full day on the job, Cartes said that “if someone’s paying, they can take my cigarette factory.”
Cartes denies any responsibility for sales of contraband cigarettes in Brazil, saying that’s a “currency trading problem” due to exchange rates.
He said Paraguay is open to foreign investors and will respect private property, and finally, added that he wants to maintain relations with Venezuela and his country to enter Mercosur, "but there is a legal problem to be solved".
Paraguay has been suspended from the Mercosur bloc since former president Fernando Lugo was ousted last year.
"During the half-hour lunch I held on Thursday with Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and Cristina Fernández of Argentina, as they have more experience than me, I asked them to help me find a legal solution to the situation of Venezuela in Mercosur," Cartes said at a press conference at the Central Bank.