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    Mercosur Presidency to Go to Argentina in January

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    Argentina will assume the rotating presidency of the Mercosur Latin American regional economic bloc starting from January 1, 2017, but without the traditional presidential summit, Argentina’s Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra has announced.

    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – The foreign ministers of Mercosur's four founding countries will meet in Buenos Aires next week to begin discussing the action plan for the first half of 2017, but Venezuela, which was supposed to assume presidency for this half of 2016, will probably not be present, Malcorra said as cited by El Nacional on Thursday.

    "Regarding Venezuela, it is not a suspension, it is a cessation of its participation in Mercosur," Malcorra stressed.

    Venezuela was officially notified of having its membership in Mercosur suspended earlier this month.

    Earlier this year, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accused Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay of uniting against Caracas on the Mercosur presidency transfer issue.

    Mercosur presidency for this half of the year was supposed to be transferred to Venezuela. However, there have been concerns over growing discord in Venezuela amid a political standoff between Maduro and the opposition-dominated parliament.

    Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay eventually decided to temporarily share the presidency of the bloc.

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    presidency, Mercosur, Venezuela, Argentina
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