Brazil said that the political crises in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen should be resolved "peacefully and without external interference." Brazil's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Brazilian government is "following closely" the development of events in these countries. Massive protests and demonstrations in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen in recent days have triggered tense political situations, which may spread to other Arab countries. Brasilia expected that "friendly nations will find the path toward political developments to meet the people's aspirations in a peaceful environment and without external interference," said the statement. Brazil and South American countries keep increasing cooperation with Arab countries as the third Summit of South American-Arab Countries (ASPA) will be held in Lima, Peru, on Feb. 16. "ASPA is an opportunity for renewed dialogue with leaders in the region," said the statement. Egypt is a major trading partner of Mercosur, a regional bloc grouping Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, especially in 2010 when a free trade agreement was signed.