Mercosur Chiefs Issue Statement In Support Of Argentina

By: Unknown 
The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2001


BRASILIA -- The presidents of Mercosur trade block countries issued a statement Friday expressing their regret over the recent deterioration of social stability and public order in Argentina and declaring their solidarity with the Argentine people.

Presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Jorge Battle of Uruguay, Luis Gonzalez Macchi of Paraguay, Jorge Quiroga of Bolivia, and Ricardo Lagos of Chile issued the statement from a Mercosur summit meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay.

In the declaration, the heads of state also called for foreign assistance to Argentina.

"We urge the attention of the international community and financial institutions to lend cooperation and support for the Republica of Argentina with the urgency that the situation requires," the statement said.

In addition, the presidents called for a democratic solution to the situation at hand.

"We express our certainty that the current difficulties will be overcome with the full respect for the institutional democratic system, as the only path accepted by the region to resolve such difficulties."

Argentina has been in the throes of a deepening social chaos amid its 40th consecutive month of recession and an ongoing debt crisis.

The social and economic crises forced President Fernando De La Rua to hand in his resignation Thursday evening, two years and 10 days after taking office.

De la Rua was replaced by Senate President Ramon Puerta.

Puerta will serve as interim president until the country can hold new elections.