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WORLD | 27-10-2022 17:32

‘Latin America can feed more people,’ declares top EU official

Foreign ministers from European Union and Latin American nations convene in Buenos Aires to strengthen multilateral ties.

Latin America, one of the main breadbaskets in the world, can "feed more people" in the wake of the global crisis created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, declared EU High Representative Josep Borrell on Tuesday in advance of meetings with foreign ministers from the region.

Representatives from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), a regional trade bloc comprised of 36 countries, met in Buenos Aires this week to discuss opportunities for multilateral cooperation on key global issues, including energy and food security.

“In light of the war in Ukraine and the shock waves on food and energy prices, Latin America can also give energy, and we can supply them with technology," Borrell remarked. “Argentina is a country that supplies many necessary goods to the world due to its enormous production capacity for agriculture."

Borrell went on to emphasise the importance of working side-by-side with Latin American states through investment initiatives, and noted the capital being sent south from the member countries of the EU.

"Many problems we can solve better together. Europe has invested more in Latin America than in Russia, Japan, China and Russia together. You can get an idea of ​​how many eggs we have put in the Latin American basket," he said at a press conference in the Palacio San Martín, the ceremonial seat of Argentina’s Foreign Ministry. "In politics and economics, the gaps are filled. China is the main trading partner of all Latin American countries, but we (the EU) invest more," he added in a jab at the Asian power.

Borrell also spoke about the negotiations to close the long-awaited free-trade agreement between Mercosur and the EU. The two must undertake a joint effort "between now and the end of the year" to conclude their FTA, he added, stressing that, “it is a pending issue. It is an agreement of strategic importance. The problems that still exist must be identified.”

 

Fernández focuses on combatting ‘hate’

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández, in attendance at Thursday’s trade meetings, used an address to leaders to denounce hate speech and called for Latin America to redouble its efforts against those espousing extreme views.

"I don't want democracy to be disrespected anywhere or for electoral processes to be distorted," he stated at the plenary session of the two regional blocs.

Fernández asked participants to confront "the cultivators of hatred and violence," and called for Latin America to reflect on the state of democratic processes.

"We have to get very tough with the violent and the hate-mongers. There is no more time to continue suffering; it is time for us to start thinking about the future,” said the Peronist leader. "Hate cultists are very easy to sow their preaching because in a discouraged society the most violent words have more effect than thoughtful words. That is why I call my continent to reflect."

It is not the first time that the president has referred to hate speech, in recent days he has dedicated a large part of his focus to addressing the issue. 

Last Monday, at the opening of the 39th session of CELAC, he proposed rethinking the form of the current public discourse: "I don't want democracy to be disrespected anywhere, the popular verdict not to be respected, or the electoral processes to be distorted."

Seated alongside Fernández, Foreign Minister Cafiero highlighted the joint work between the member countries of CELAC and the EU, and advocated for peace and the cessation of the war between Ukraine and Russia. 

“From Latin America and the Caribbean, we propose to move from warlike determinism to harmonic possibilities. We are a zone of peace, we always resolve conflicts using the word and democracy,” said the official.

“We want to implement an approach that is not only limited to the war in the heart of Europe, but also to the economies of our region; we need to build new financial architecture that promotes the economic development of our people. That is why we call for the cessation of hostilities, to stop the war because peace is urgent,” concluded Cafiero.

 

- TIMES/AFP/NA

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