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04/10/2012 - 10:32hs

Energy: axis for Arab-South American relations

The area was defined as a priority for cooperation between both regions, says the Lima Declaration. Countries want joint solutions for renewable energy and efficient consumption.

São Paulo – Energy was defined as a priority in relations between the Arab and South American countries in coming years, according to the Lima Declaration, the document containing the resolutions of the 3rd Summit of South American-Arab Countries (Aspa), to take place this week in Lima, Peru. Energy is mentioned as the axis for bi-regional relations, especially points that involve production, efficient consumption, development of renewable energy and strategies to face climate change.

The declaration says that energy is an essential resource for sustainable development and stimulates joint research in the area, but makes it clear that each country has the sovereign right to decide conditions for development of natural resources.

In the document, signed by the leaders of both regions, the creation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, was lauded, as was its part in production of this kind of energy in the world. The countries in the Aspa were invited to connect to the initiative.

Lima Declaration states the importance of cooperation for implementation of public policies that guarantee food and nutritional safety in a sustainable manner. These actions should favour the access to food by the most vulnerable parts of the population, promoting agricultural production in small family properties. The group calls for reforms in the United Nations’ World Food Safety Committee to make it into the main platform for development of these activities.

In the text, the governments present stated that they plan to continue developing relations between both regions and to intensify them, mainly in the economic area, in trade and investment, strengthening the part played by businessmen in the area. The text points out the positive results of the Aspa CEO Forum, which took place in the sidelines of the summit. Brazil participated with a delegation of around 30 people and the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce was represented by president Salim Taufic Schahin, Managing vice-president Marcelo Sallum, CEO Michel Alaby and advisor Alberto Pfeifer.

The declaration also calls for promotion of cooperation in transport to increase the efficiency of product freight, establishing regular shipping lines between the main ports in both regions. Investment, says the document, is a pillar for social and economic development and a key to reduction of poverty, inequality and job generation.

The document also covers themes regarding culture, welcoming the inauguration of the Library and Centre of South American and Arab Research (Bibliaspa), in São Paulo, and its activities. The Aspa in Lima, in its final declaration, grants support to education and to the promotion of the language of one region in the other, provides incentives to cultural activities, like art and book exhibitions and concerts, among others. The countries, according to the document, should also begin cooperation in the sports area.

A large part of the document focussed on political matters, like calls for peaceful solutions. The declaration also suggests the creation of zones free of nuclear weapons, worldwide, especially in places close to nuclear arsenals, with no loss to nuclear power generation. It also states the group’s position regarding Palestine, calling for independence of the state, implementation of resolutions in the United Nations and that Israel lave the occupied territories. The document criticises the lack of progress in efforts of the Quartet (United States, European Union, UN and Russia) for the end of the conflict.

Regarding Syria, the countries stated their engagement with the sovereignty of Syria, calling for a peaceful solution to the conflict in the country, but recalls that responsibility for the violence and the violation of human rights will be on the government. The group calls for the end of all violence and rejects foreign intervention in the conflict.

The document mentions that almost all political problems in both regions, like the island dispute between the Emirates and Iran, movements in Yemen, the fight for the Falklands between Argentina and Great Britain, among others, always calling for peaceful solutions through dialogue. It also condemns terrorism and rejects any connection of this kind of action with a people, ethnic group, religion or culture. Countries call for there to be a fight against global terror in the scope of the UN.

*Translated by Mark Ament

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