BRASILIA – Brazilian President Michel Temer welcomed Paraguayan President-elect Mario Abdo Benitez to Brasilia on Monday, with the Paraguayan proposing to improve the two countries’ physical integration with the construction of four new bridges.
“It’s unacceptable for us to have just one bridge” between Paraguay and Brazil, said Abdo Benitez after his meeting with Temer at the Planalto presidential palace, alluding to the Friendship Bridge inaugurated over the Parana River separating the countries in 1965.
Abdo Benitez, who will take office on August 15, emphasized that his visit to Brazil is his first foreign trip since the April election, which he won with 46.4 percent of the votes over rival Efrain Alegre, who garnered 42.7 percent.
“Uniting us with Brazil are both history and the challenges” posed for the region by integration, said the president-elect, adding that he proposed to Temer that four more bridges between the countries be built, two over the Paraguay River and two more over the Parana.
He emphasized that “the importance of improving (land) connections” is clearly shown by the fact that it will provide greater dynamism for bilateral trade, which last year increased to $1.3 billion, a 12 percent hike over 2016.
He also said that he agreed with Temer about “the need to wage a coordinated fight against organized (transnational) crime, which he said is “what has globalized itself the most” throughout the world, adding that this fight is being conducted with Argentina in the border zone among the three nations.
Abdo Benitez also said that he intends to foster Brazilian companies establishing themselves in Paraguay and promote “shopping tourism” in the border areas.