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BOGOTA, December 4. /TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry and the General Secretariat of the Union of South American Nations (Spanish: Uniуn de Naciones Suramericanas — UNASUR) will consider the signing of a memorandum of cooperation, Russian Ambassador to Ecuador Yan Burlyai told TASS in an interview on Thursday in the run-up to the UNASUR summit that is held in Quito and Guayaquil.
“Russia’s delegation led by director of the Foreign Ministry’s Latin American department Alexander Shchetinin will take part in the summit,” the ambassador said. “They will hold talks with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa and the delegation head will convey to him a verbal message from Putin.”
“Shchetinin will also meet UNASUR Secretary General Ernesto Samper who supports the development of relations with Russia and put forward the idea of concluding a memorandum of cooperation between the UNASUR General Secretariat and Russia’s Foreign Ministry.” “This idea is currently being considered,” Burlyai said. “We hope this agreement will be useful for both sides and it will be concluded in the near future.”
In May 2008, leaders from 12 South American countries inked the Constitutive Treaty to create UNASUR with the goal of enhancing regional economic and political integration. When Uruguay became the ninth member to ratify the charter in December 2010, the accord gained the necessary votes to give UNASUR legal status. The treaty subsequently went into effect in March 2011 during a meeting at the group’s headquarters in Quito, Ecuador.
The organization brings together Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay, Chile and Ecuador. Mexico and Panama have the observer status in UNASUR. The union’s main objective is to integrate the member states’ economies and create a free trade zone within 15 years. UNASUR has created the South American Parliament, the South American Bank and South American Defense Council, an advisory and coordinating mechanism, aimed at ensuring conditions for the reduction of tension on the continent.