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Brazilian Senate president denies interference in Venezuela's entrance to Mercosur
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13:51, February 13, 2009

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Brazilian Senate President Jose Sarney denied Thursday that he intends to stand in the way of Venezuela's entry into the Southern Common Market (Mercosur).

Sarney said the bill for Venezuela's inclusion in Mercosur will receive the same treatment in the Senate as any other bill.

"I have my friendship loyalties, party loyalties and political loyalties, but I will not act on them at the cost of the Senate. I will do exactly as the Senate regulations determine. Everything will follow the regular procedures, with no interference from me," he said.

The statement was a response to allegations that Sarney had agreed to obstruct Venezuela, in exchange for opposition parties' support for his candidacy to the presidency of the Senate.

Sarney, a former Brazilian president, was elected president of the Senate on Feb. 2. Though he is a leader of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, which is an ally of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, he had the support of the country's two major opposition parties, Democrats and Brazilian Social Democracy Party.

The senator had said repeatedly in the past that he was against Venezuela entering the Mercosur due to ideological disagreements with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Venezuela's entrance to the Mercosur was signed in 2006, but needs to be ratified by the parliaments of all four member countries -- Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

The Argentine and Uruguayan parliaments have already ratified the measure. The Brazilian House of Representatives approved the bill in December.


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