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Argentina to assume presidency of Mercosur without summit

Argentina will assume the rotating presidency of Mercosur next January 1, but without the traditional presidential summit, the country's foreign minister, Susana Malcorra, said today with his Brazilian counterpart José Serra.

Malcorra said the foreign ministers of Mercosur's four founding countries will meet in Buenos Aires next week to begin discussing the action plan for the first half of 2017 and hinted that Venezuela will not be present.

"The Venezuelan is not a suspension, it is a cessation of its participation in Mercosur," as agreed by Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay because it did not adapt to Mercosur norms four years after it started its accession process To the block, he explained.

Malcorra noted, however, that the four founding nations of Mercosur maintain "the hope that Venezuela will adapt as soon as possible (to the rules of the bloc) and that, once its level of commitment is corroborated, it will" become a member again.

Still, he stressed that "one can not be a member of a club and have access rights without complying with obligations."

In relation to the next months, he considered that the Mercosur should try to accelerate the negotiations for a commercial agreement with the European Union (EU), mainly by the propitious scenario that poses the decision of the elect president of the USA. Donald Trump, to curb the bilateral agreements negotiated by his country.

"The arrival of Trump may interrupt the negotiations between the United States and the EU and we want to seize the opportunity to move the Mercosur agenda as quickly as possible," said the Argentine minister.

Malcorra was welcomed by President Michel Temer, with whom he reviewed the bilateral and regional "entire agenda", and there was a complete coincidence in the sense that it was his first official visit to Brazil. Of "betting on the Mercosur", but "in a Mercosur more open to the world".

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