The executive body of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) said on Thursday that it had ratified Venezuela's bid to become a full member of the bloc, and agreed to form a regional parliament.
In a communique, the committee said the agreements were reached after two days of discussions ahead of the 29th Mercosur summit, which begins on Friday.
As South America's leading economic bloc, Marcosur, which was founded in 1991, is made up of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.
The committee said it had approved Venezuela's entry bid, and the consultative protocol on the Mercosur Parliament.
Venezuela's entry would considerably boost Mercosur's economic power, as the country is the world's fifth biggest oil exporter and the third largest economy in South America after Brazil and Argentina.
The committee reiterated Mercosur is willing to re-open trade negotiations with Mercosur, and create closer links with it. The committee also approved rules for the organization's tribunal and for a fund for structural convergence.
It appointed Argentina's Carlos Alvarez as president of the Commission of Permanent Mercosur Representatives, and Paraguay's Jose Ernesto Buttner as director of the Mercosur Secretariat for 2006 to 2008.
The committee discussed the Marco accord on energy cooperation between Mercosur countries and associate members including Venezuela, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. It also discussed the Guarani Aquifer Accord project.
It also considered reports on Mercosur's work in the last six months, including the topics of citizen participation, employment, investment, institutional reform, and future strategies for operation and negotiation.
The agreements made will be submitted on Friday to the Mercosur summit for discussion and approval, and Venezuela's entry bid is expected to be ratified almost for certain.