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Environmentalist organization REDES – Friends of the Earth Uruguay “welcomed and congratulated” the space for discussion opened by the party in office Frente Amplio to analyze the presence of the country in the negotiations of the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and the subsequent decision by President Tabare Vazquez to abandon the negotiations.
REDES-FoE believes that “the public and democratic debate that was opened is absolutely essential to discuss about public interest issues such as the international integration of the country”, states a press release issued Tuesday.
On Saturday, the National Plenary of the Frente Amplio Party decided it was “inconvenient” to continue participating in the TISA negotiations and recommended the government to abandon them. On Monday, President Vazquez decided to listen to the political force, which was requested an official position, and asked Foreign Affair Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa to start the proceedings for the withdrawal of Uruguay from the negotiations.
“REDES-FoE highlights in this context the importance of continuing to build discussion spaces about the international integration of Uruguay and especially its regional integration in the framework of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Latin American and Caribbean States Community (CELAC)”, stated the environmental organization.
“In addition, the discussion opened by the Frente Amplio Party and its constituents and the government resolution can give way to open debates and definitions in other countries negotiating the TISA”. “Our organization will continue committed with the discussion and mobilization processes at regional and global level that are carried out around these negotiations”, added the press release.
In mid August, REDES-FoE and the central workers union of the country, PIT-CNT, publically issued a position paper about the TISA, which was submitted to Frente Amplio MPs and the then President of the Party, Monica Xavier and several governmental ministries.
The environmental organization and the workers union worked together for over a year and continuously warned about the TISA and its risks. Some of the issues of concern, among many others, were: the secrecy around the negotiations and the difficulties to access information, the extension and deepening of liberalization that already exists in the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the threat to the sovereignty of the country with reference to the definition of its own public policies.
REDES-FoE explained that Vazquez´ decision to consult the political force, the recommendation by most members of the Party who listened to the concerns of social organizations, and the final decision by the President “account for the sensitivity and maturity of the party in office”.
“They also account for a political system that allowed for an enriching debate among different social actors and those who ultimately decide the policies of the country, in favor of all people, of the interests of our country in the framework of a regional integration process and our sovereignty. Congratulations!”, concluded the press release.
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