Brazil: First Arab-Latin American summit opens

Al Bawaba
Thirty three countries are participating in the first Arab-Latin American summit which seeks to increase solidarity between Arab & Latin American countries in the international circles, particularly the UN Security Council & the World Trade Organization.
According to SANA, the summit also comes as part of rallying efforts of the developing countries and support their rights, particularly those related to the Middle East peace as the summit would discuss issues concerning Palestine, Iraq, the situation in Sudan as well as reforming the UN.
It is expected the summit would lay the ground for an Arab and Latin American role on the international arena as a bloc with a saying in the filed of economics politics in the future.

Arab diplomats in the Brazilian capital expect that the summit would politically support the stances of the Arab countries in their efforts to establish a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East on the basis of the UN resolutions and the establishment of a Palestinian independent state and the Israeli withdrawal from all the occupied Arab territories back to June 4th 1967 border line.

The diplomats said the summit would also call for freeing the Middle East from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. It will demand all the parties concerned to and the international community to join the Non-proliferation Treaty and open their nuclear facilities to international inspection, in obvious reference to Israel, the only party which hasn’t so far joined the agreement.

Arab sources stressed ahead of the summit the importance of reaching a proper mechanism for cooperation and coordination between Arab and Latin American countries through convening regular summits, maybe every two years alternatively, so that this gathering serves as a future framework in the benefit of the peoples of both sides.

In this regard, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim noted that he sees no reason for the U.S. to be concerned over this summit which represents Brazil’s policy in creating a new trend of cooperation towards a prosperous future and reaching a more fruitful cooperation. The US demand to send an observer to the event was rejected.

On the sidelines of the summit, an agreement on free trade will be signed between the Gulf states and Latin America. Another trade preferential agreement is due to be signed between Egypt and the common market in Latin America (MERCOSOR) which groups Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Arab businessmen representing several economic sectors will take part in the trade and industrial exhibition that hosts 800 Arab and foreign in Sao Paolo, Brazil’s industrial and trade capital.

The summit, which comes after a visit by the Brazilian President to five Arab countries in January 2003. will also give a new momentum to the trade exchanges between the Arab countries and Brazil where 12 million Arabs live.

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