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President Lula speaks at Mercosur summit

President Lula spoke this Monday during the Mercosur summit, in Asunción, Paraguay.

In his speech, the president highlighted the attempted coup in Bolivia, carried out last month by army general Juan José Zúñiga.

“The unanimous reaction of June 26 in Bolivia and January 8 in Brazil show that there is no shortcut to democracy in our region. But we must remain vigilant. False democrats are trying to undermine it and put it at the service of reactionary interests. As long as our region remains among the most unequal in the world, political stability will remain under threat.”

The president also highlighted the recent defeats of the far right and ultra-right in the parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom and France, where left-wing coalitions won voters’ preference last week.

“Both are fundamental to the defense of democracy and social justice against the threats of extremism,” said Lula.

The President of the Republic also stated that the bloc needs to act together to develop Artificial Intelligence and data governance structures. He also asked member countries to dedicate themselves to building a free trade agreement with China.

Regarding the end of customs barriers between Mercosur and the European Union, Lula credited European leaders for the impasse in the treaty negotiations.

“We were only unable to conclude the agreement with the European Union because the Europeans were unable to resolve their own internal contradictions,” he said.

Climate changes

President Lula also stated during the summit that Latin American countries should lead the discussion on combating climate change, citing the impacts of droughts on the continent’s biomes.

“I want to call for greater engagement and climate ambition. (…) This year, at COP16 in Cali (which will be held in November), we will also demonstrate the magnitude of South American biodiversity. We have the moral authority to make ourselves heard and the historic responsibility to lead by example,” said Lula.

Also on Monday, Lula will travel to Bolivia, where he will have a meeting with President Luis Arce.

Signing of agreements

In addition to the focus on Bolivia’s accession to Mercosur, this edition of the Summit is expected to see the signing of an agreement for financial and technical support between the bloc and the Financial Fund for the Development of the La Plata Basin (Fonplata).

Furthermore, a Mercosur film and audiovisual co-production agreement must be signed, in addition to cooperation for disaster prevention and a declaration to combat transnational organized crime.

At this summit, the six-month temporary Presidency of Mercosur will be handed over by Paraguay to Uruguay.

(In update)

Source: CNN Brasil

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