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Uruguay to leave MERCOSUR

By Aleksander Boyd

London 02.05.06 | Uruguay's President Tabare Vasquez stated in an interview with Montevideo's Channel 10 "MERCOSUR is more a problem than a solution to Uruguay." President Vasquez's statements come after months of an alleged conflict between Argentina and Uruguay over the construction, in Uruguay, of a couple of pulp mills. It needs to be borne in mind that both nations form part of MERCOSUR. However since January this year Piqueteros and assorted environmentalists, allegedly at the service of Argentina's President Kirchner, have blocked the transit between the two countries, causing a great deal of economic damage and losses not only to both countries but to other parties that use that route for trading purposes.

Speaking from Washington President Vasquez informed that Uruguay will seek to mirror Chile's successful approach to international trade, read entering into as many trading agreements as benefitial, noting that his nation needs to model its development on an open, forward looking and modern basis.

He noted that the process of regional integration of MERCOSUR, of which the two big partners -Brazil and Argentina- disregard the interests of Uruguay and Paraguay, is not advancing as it should.

President Wasquez seemed equally upset at Argentina's lenient stance vis-a-vis the perpetrators of the bridges' blockade that already amounts to $400 million in losses to Uruguay.

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