The Venezuelan government announced Friday that it is ready to hand over the rotating presidency of the Mercosur bloc to Argentina from Jan. 1, after holding the position for the past six months in tension with some of other member nations.
Foreign Affairs Minister Delcy Rodriguez wrote on Twitter that the handover would proceed as planned, with Mercosur rotating between member countries every six months.
Rodriguez said that Caracas had “legitimately exercised” its right to hold the position for six months.
Venezuela joined the bloc in 2012 and took over the presidency on July 30, 2016 from Uruguay.
But three of Mercosur’s other four members, namely Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, refused to recognize Caracas’ presidency, saying the country’s political and economic woes prevented it from playing an effective role.
In early December, the three members were joined by Uruguay to suspend Venezuela from the bloc. The foreign ministers of these countries wrote to Venezuela, informing the country that its membership rights would have to be renegotiated.
Caracas rejected the move and has maintained that it continued to exercise its presidency legally. Enditem