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03/10/2012 - 09:58hs

Arabs and South Americans to seek consensus

Both regions agreed, during the summit in Peru, to tune postures in international forums. The final statement in Lima calls for peace in the Middle East and support to Palestinian sovereignty.

São Paulo – The South Americans and Arabs are going to aim to fine tune their positioning in international forums. This was one of the decisions of the Summit of South American-Arab Countries (Aspa), which ended on Tuesday (2), in Lima, Peru. Leaders and ministers of both regions agreed on the 70 points that are in Lima Declaration, the document in which the decisions made at the meeting are shown and which was signed by the participating countries. “We are going to agree on our postures at international forums and to work together,” said the Foreign Minister of Iraq, Zebari Hoshyar, representing the Arab bloc, at the end of the Aspa.

The decisions made at the summit include several sectors, but the engagement for peace was pointed out by the leaders of both regions at the end of the meeting. “The joint statement is based on points like peace, disarmament, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, peaceful solution to controversy, respect to human rights and international and humanitarian rights, and also on the repudiation of all forms of terrorism,” said the president of Peru, Ollanta Humala, who spoke on behalf of South America at the closing of the Aspa.

The group offered support to the Palestinian right to independence and sovereignty and called for peace in the region. In the name of the Arabs, Hoshyar thanked South America for its support in the most important Arab questions, mainly that of Palestine. He recalled that the South Americans were the first to recognize the legitimacy of the Palestinian state. The forum also accepted the Arab proposal of signing, in Lima Declaration, the nuclear disarmament of the Middle East, making the region a zone free of these weapons.

There was also support to the idea of creation of an investment bank for both regions, the establishment of a general secretariat and of a network of diplomacy schools. The countries have engaged to promote sports events and established a calendar for meetings in several areas. Lebanon should receive a meeting of ministers in the social area this year. In 2013, Ecuador should receive a meeting of environment ministers and Peru one in the area of health.

The president of Peru recalled that, together, the Arabs and South Americans represent 700 million inhabitants and have an aggregate Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$ 7 trillion. "Our problems are in common, but our hopes are too,” said Humala. He agreed to make Peru an active player in the fostering of relations between both regions. The Aspa accepted the Saudi proposal to host the next summit, in 2015, in Riyadh.

*Translated by Mark Ament

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