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LATIN AMERICA | 04-07-2024 00:12

Brazil 'regrets' Milei's absence at upcoming Mercosur summit

Senior Brazilian diplomat says her nation "regrets" President Javier Milei’s decision not to attend the upcoming Mercosur summit in Asunción.

A senior Brazilian diplomat says her nation "regrets" President Javier Milei’s decision not to attend the upcoming Mercosur summit in Asunción, but that the Argentine leader’s absence will not prevent the bloc from taking decisions.

Milei's decision to skip the meeting – he will be represented in the Paraguayan capital by his foreign minister Diana Mondino – means the La Libertad Avanza leader will not cross paths with his Brazilian counterpart and ideological rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

"We regret it,” said Gisela Padovan, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry's secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean. 

“Politically, it is regrettable that a president decides not to meet with his partners," she told reporters in Brasília. 

Nevertheless, "the summit will happen" and "we will sign whatever there is to sign," she added.

Tensions between Brazil and Argentina have been strained since Milei took office. They have risen to new heights after a recent exchange of remarks between the two leaders.

Last month, Milei referred to Lula as a "lefty" with an "inflamed ego" and refused to apologise for having called him a "wild lefty," a "Communist" and "corrupt," as the Brazilian leader had requested.

Argentina’s outspoken leader will, however, travel to Brazil on Saturday, just a day before the summit begins and two days before its heads of state are due to meet.

Milei is scheduled to attend this week’s CPAC Brasil event, an offshoot of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in the United States, alongside right-wing former president Jair Bolsonaro, Lula’s political nemesis.

Padovan said that the Brazilian authorities have received "no official confirmation" of Milei's possible presence on their territory. 

A meeting between the Argentine President and Bolsonaro "has not been confirmed," according to Milei’s spokesperson.

The upcoming Mercosur summit should see the finalisation of Bolivia's entry as a full member of the bloc created in 1991 by Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, said Padovan.


– TIMES/AFP

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