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Brazilian president reiterates call to revive Unasur

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Sao Paulo: Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday reiterated a call to revive Unasur (Union of South American Nations), the South American integration bloc.

Accompanied by his Paraguayan counterpart Mario Abdo Benitez, Lula made the remarks during a speech in the southern city of Foz do Iguacu to mark the entry of economist Enio Verri as the new Brazilian director of the Itaipu binational hydroelectric plant, which was built 50 years ago by the two neighboring countries.

The bilateral treaty that created the hydroelectric plant is a prime example of South American integration, noted Lula, saying that Brazil has the obligation to help the economic growth of smaller neighbors lacking in industrial and technological development.

One of his foreign policy goals, he said, will be the revival of Unasur, a mechanism that can serve to guarantee dialogue and stability between South American countries.

Lula said he has “the firm will to reorganize Unasur” to ensure regional peace and tranquility so that the focus can be placed on eradicating poverty and promoting development.

He also urged the South American trade bloc Mercosur (Southern Common Market), which gathers Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, to remain united so as to have “more power to negotiate.”

Located in the Parana River region, on the border between Paraguay and Brazil, the Itaipu hydroelectric plant began operating in 1984 and is said to be the second largest of its kind in the world.

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