• Short Summary

    INTRODUCTION Argentina's President General Jorge Videla paid his first visit to neighbouring Paraguay on Friday (22 April).

  • Description

    SV President Videla in dark suit with President Alfredo Stroessner in car

    SV Children watching parade

    GV Videla and Stroessner being applauded as they take the rostrum

    SV People applauding at roadside

    SV PANS of parade as Videla and Stroessner watch (7 shots)

    Initials OS

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: INTRODUCTION Argentina's President General Jorge Videla paid his first visit to neighbouring Paraguay on Friday (22 April).

    SYNOPSIS: President Videla was the guest of Paraguay's military leader, General Alfredo Stroessner, in the capital Asuncion. He was honoured by a military parade which was the first held in the country for 18 years. The Republic of Paraguay boasts a force of some 10,500 in the armed forces.

    President Stroessner and the visiting Argentine leader received a loud welcome. Paraguay has recently held elections. The Coloradio party of President Stroessner, supreme ruler of Paraguay for the past 23 years, won a predictably comfortable victory in the election for a new constituent assembly. The sole task of the assembly will be to consider the removal of a constitutional ban to the President seeking re-election next year. His party won 85 per cent of the votes. Opposition parties boycotted the election, claiming the result was a foregone conclusion. The main reason for the visit of General Videla was the Parana River development scheme. There is considerable traffic along the River Parana through Argentina to the Atlantic at Buenos Aires and Montevideo, giving landlocked Paraguay a port.

    In 1967 Paraguay and Argentina agreed to grant free navigation to merchant vessels of the two countries on Rivers Plate, Paraguay and Parana. The two leaders later signed another agreement on the river scheme. Relations between the two countries are cordial now but in the past this hasn't always been the case. Paraguay was defeated by the triple alliance of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay in a war in 1865. The war lasted two years and more than two million people are reported to have died.

    The two leaders later signed the agreement at President Stroessner's house. It covered the river development and a solution to the problems caused by the construction of the Yacireta-Apipe and Corpus Dam schemes. The agreement is effective immediately. With General Videla was Foreign Affairs Minister Vice-Admiral Cesar Guzetti and Paraguayan Foreign Minister Dr. Alberto Nogues was also there. President Stroessner has visited Argentina several times but never since the present administration came to power.

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