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Latin America- Arab Summit

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I know it's a long story, but it's still a good read. In this section I will post the Countries involved in the Summit. --------------------------------------------------->



"The following countries will participate of the Summit: Argentina, Algeria, Bahrein, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Ecuador, Guiana, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Rep, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen. "






South American, Arab leaders open summit





BRASILIA, Brazil -- South American and Arab nations must band together to ensure that free trade improves the lives of the world's poor instead of benefitting only rich countries and major corporations, Brazil's president said Tuesday at the opening of a summit.


Amid tight security, top officials from 34 South American, Middle Eastern and North African nations gathered to boost cooperation between the regions and undercut the global influence of the United States.


"Today, we are in front of a historic opportunity to launch the foundation for a solid bridge of cooperation between South America and the Arab world," President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said to open the first Summit of South American-Arab Countries.


He singled out agricultural subsidies developed nations give their farmers, saying they must be slashed to ensure "poor countries receive the benefits of globalization."


"We want to make concrete and lasting steps in the struggle for development and social justice," Silva said.


Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said the two regions may lie far apart but have a combined population of more than half a billion people and share strong cultural links. About 10 million South Americans are of Arab descent.


"More than 600 million people are looking with hope to the summit of hope, the Brasilia summit," he said.


Some 9,000 soldiers posted around the Brazilian capital and military helicopters buzzing overhead - the biggest show of security here since Silva was sworn into office 2 1/2 years ago as the first elected leftist leader of Latin America's largest country.


The officials, including 16 heads of state, will hold two days of talks, and are expected to join forces by signing a "Declaration of Brasilia."


In a draft of the declaration, the leaders pledge to support sweeping political and economic efforts to tighten links between their regions.


They see stronger ties as a way to counter U.S. dominance in the political and economic affairs, a key policy goal of Silva, who proposed the summit during a 2003 trip to the Middle East.


A separate ceremony was scheduled Tuesday for officials to endorse an agreement between the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Mercosur, a South American economic bloc, leading to negotiations for a free trade area linking the two regions.


Mercosur's full-fledged members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The GCC's members are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.


The draft summit declaration also condemns Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory and denounces terrorism but asserts the right of people to resist foreign occupation, according the document approved by foreign ministers Monday.


It also criticizes U.S. economic sanctions against Syria.


Moussa tried to downplay elements of declaration criticizing U.S policy, saying the summit's main point is to strengthen regional ties.


"This summit, in its idea, its initiative, is not directed against anyone," he said.


But the declaration came under fire from leading Jewish groups.


"It leaves the door open for terrorists groups to interpret it as a support for their criminal activities," said Sergio Widder, the Simon Wiesenthal Center representative for South America.


Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said that "terrorism is condemned in a clear manner," but with regard to the paragraph relating to the right of resistance, "each party will read it as they understand it."

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