Bolivia, Paraguay pledge to deepen bilateral relations
LA PAZ, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Bolivian President Evo Morales and Paraguay's President-elect Mario Abdo Benitez met Thursday at the Government Palace to draft a new period of bilateral relations.
The two leaders spoke of bolstering bilateral agreements in areas of Bolivian gas, the Central Bi-Oceanic railway and the Parana-Paraguay Waterway, as well as furthering integration, energy and strategic commercial alliances.
Abdo Benitez, who was elected Paraguayan president with more than 46 percent of votes in the presidential election runoff, arrived in La Paz on Wednesday to personally invite Morales to his inauguration, which is to take place in Asuncion on Aug. 15.
Morales accepted the invitation, announcing the trip to be the beginning of a new era in bilateral relations with Paraguay.
"We will be in Paraguay to see the new government come into power ... I am sure that we will deepen relations between the two countries with plans on integration issues including energy and trade," said the Bolivian president.
After the meeting, the leaders held a joint press conference in the Government Palace's Hall of Mirrors, where each leader shared their gratitude for the meeting.
Benitez said he is committed to improving friendship and cooperation. "We have agreed to emphasize building strategic alliances between both countries."
The president-elect, who during his time as a senator in Paraguay, supported Bolivia's entry into the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), a South American trade bloc, welcomed Bolivia's willingness to move forward together for a better future.