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Argentina assumes pro-tempore presidency of Mercosur

Argentina has assumed the pro-tempore presidency of South American trade bloc Mercosur, Argentina's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website Dec. 14.

Argentina's Foreign Affairs Minister, Susana Malcorra, announced the news at a press conference after meeting with her counterparts from Mercosur members Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay in Buenos Aires.

Venezuela, which was suspended from Mercosur earlier in December for failing to implement the bloc's norms, was excluded from the meeting, although Venezuela's Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodríguez, reportedly arrived uninvited. On her Twitter account, she accused her Mercosur counterparts of "plotting" against Venezuela and insisted that Venezuela is still a member of the bloc.

Venezuela was supposed to take over the pro-tempore presidency of Mercosur in July but objections from other members blocked the handover, leaving the presidency in a state of limbo. Under the bloc's rules, Mercosur heads of state take turns as president, rotating every six months.