UNASUR Flag of South America
RIO DE JANEIRO, May 26 (Xinhua) — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Monday that South American nations will seek a common currency as part of the region’s integration efforts following the creation of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) last week.
“We are proceeding so as, in the future, we have a common central bank and a common currency,” said Lula in his weekly radio program, noting that this process will “not be fast.”
The president highlighted the importance of helping the group’s more “economically fragile” members, such as Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia.
“We have to help them because the stronger the countries in South America economically are, the more tranquility, peace, democracy, trade, companies, jobs, incomes and development,” he said.
The Brazilian leader said the creation of Unasur will allow cross-nation construction of railroads, highways, bridges and transmission lines connecting the region, while the alliance will make negotiations with other blocs easier.
The president said changes will be made on the proposal to create a regional defense council, which the South American leaders failed to agree during a summit in Brasilia on Friday.
A working group is expected to analyze the revised proposal in August, he said.
Lula plans to visit Colombia in July and meet Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Colombia was the only member that opposed the plan to build the regional defense council designed to resolve regional conflicts, promote military cooperation and possibly coordinate joint weapons production in the region.
Uribe has said Colombia is experiencing a difficult time in its fight against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the largest rebel group in the country, and such a regional defense body would not offer solutions to Colombia’s problem.
The heads of state of 12 South American countries — Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela — signed a treaty last Friday in Brasilia on the creation of Unasur aimed at boosting economic integration and political cohesion in the region.