[m2c] Brazil summit policies at odds with US
sandinista at shaw.ca
Mon May 16 04:23:17 MDT 2005
Summit delegates seek unity in diversity
by Lawrence Smallman
Thursday 05 May 2005 10:30 AM GMT
The Summit of South American-Arab Countries will seek to bring together two
diverse regions that share many of the same political and economic
The first full meeting in Brasilia on 10 May is above all a proposal of
cooperation between Latin America and the EU's poorer southern neighbours.
And despite the huge diversity found in Latin American, North Africa and the
Middle East, organisers say all 34 countries participating share a common
vision of peace and economic development with social justice.
According to the event's website, the 12 South American countries and 22
Arab ones attending all "base their actions on the respect for international
law and multilateralism. They fight for an inclusive, tolerant, multi-polar
world more conducive to development".
But while organisers stress historical ties between the Arab and Latin world
through 700 years of contact in the Iberian peninsula, there are plenty of
Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper reports there are 10 million people of Arab
descent living in Brazil, in addition to another seven million in other
countries around the continent.
There are plenty of major political issues of international importance on
the agenda. One of the main themes will be reform of the UN Security
Brazil and Egypt both hope to win permanent seats as the most-populous
nations in their respective regions.
But a 28-page draft final declaration of the summit - drawn up in Morocco
last March - shows even weightier political issues will be tackled.
In a section entitled Strengthening Bi-Regional and Multilateral Relations,
a summit draft document calls for a conference defining "terrorist crime"
that would distinguish "terrorism from the legitimate right of peoples to
resist foreign occupation with a view to reach national independence".
And with nations such as Venezuela, Iraq and Palestine all involved, the
debate is likely to cover sensitive issues of fundamental international
interest and importance.
Indeed, in excited anticipation of the event, some see the summit as a first
move in the formation of a new global power bloc. In March, Brazilian
Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said the meetings would be "a small seismic
movement" in the global correlation of political power.
However, Arab League chief Amr Moussa played down talk of a major political
He told Aljazeera.net that suggestions that South America, as a significant
agricultural trade bloc, and the Arab world, as a major oil exporter, would
attempt to play a defining role in the world's need for energy and food,
He outlined a much humbler economic objective by Middle Eastern countries to
increase the volume of business with Brazil to about $16 billion a year by
"The conference will serve to open Arab world doors to Brazil," he
And, according to president of the Arabian-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce
Antonio Sarkis, it is about time.
Sarkis says that, to date, trade between the two regions has proven to be a
logistical nightmare. "Basically, there are not enough means of transport to
serve exporters to Arab countries.
"We still do not even have direct flights between the majority of the
summit's participating countries," he says.
Other topics for discussion include the growth of tourism. According to
Embratur, the Brazilian Tourism Agency, only 29,400 tourists from the Middle
East came to Brazil in 2004.
Tourism and culture
Sidney Alves Costa, an adviser at the Brazilian Tourism Ministry and the
person in charge of coordinating the ministry's efforts for the summit, said
Arabs need more detailed information about South America.
"Arabs need to realise there is much more than just carnival and football in
Latin America," he said, adding that Brazil alone hopes to attract at least
100,000 Arab tourists by the end of 2005.
But the two-day-summit will not be dominated by politicians and economists
only. Artists will also get their chance to cement the new alliance.
Delegates can enjoy a whole week of Middle Eastern and South American films
as well as a photographic exhibition that documents the Arab presence and
history on the continent.
Additionally, both Morocco and Peru are both putting on food festivals,
while Latin American musicians will get to perform traditional guitar music.
By the time everything ends on 11 May, delegates will very likely feel that
the foundations for a new alliance are firm.
Brazil summit policies at odds with US
Wednesday 11 May 2005 5:21 PM GMT
The summit's declaration denounced US sanctions on Syria
South American and Arab leaders at their first regional summit have endorsed
a declaration condemning the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and
calling for trade liberalisation to lift the planet's poor out of misery.
Banding together in an event aimed at dampening the dominance of developed
countries, they ended the two-day Summit of South American-Arab Countries by
staking out positions that are at odds with US policy on several fronts.
Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and American-backed Iraqi President Jalal
Talabani joined dozens of other nations in approving a Declaration of
Brasilia condemning terrorism, denouncing US sanctions against Syria and
supporting moves to give developing countries more clout on the
The summit brought 9000 troops to the Brazilian capital in the tightest
security in years. Tanks were posted outside the convention centre, where 15
heads of state and top officials from 34 South American, Middle Eastern and
North African nations met.
Pushing a goal he has pursued since becoming the country's first elected
leftist leader, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio da Silva urged participants
to fight for free-trade rules that help the developing world's masses
instead of rich countries and multinational corporations.
Arab states, under pressure from Washington to reform authoritarian
governments, chose to focus on the Palestinian crisis.
The declaration calls for tighter political and economic links between the
regions but demands that Israel disband settlements and retreat to its
borders before the 1967 Mideast war.
The summit lost lustre with the absence of the strongest voices in the Arab
world, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria.
Argentine President Nestor Kirchner jetted out on Tuesday night in a move
interpreted as a snub of Silva. Argentina and Brazil, the continent's two
largest economies, historically have jockeyed to be South America's leading
power, and Kirchner reportedly is upset with Silva's insistence that Brazil
should be given a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Leaders from Qatar and Chile, along with high-level delegations from Saudi
Arabia and Jordan, also left before the closing ceremony.
In all, seven of 22 Arab heads of state attended, while eight of the 12
South American leaders came to Brasilia. The United States requested to
attend as an observer, but Brazil refused.
The document denounces terrorism but asserts the right of people "to resist
foreign occupation in accordance with the principles of international
legality and in compliance with international humanitarian law".
The clause - a clear reference to the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon's
Hizb Allah, groups condemned by the US and Israel - drew criticism from
On Iraq, it stresses respect for the unity, sovereignty and independence
of Iraq and of not interfering in its internal affairs.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told summit leaders he wanted their help to
fight terrorism, which he described as "an international curse".
"For every one American killed, 300 innocent Iraqis are killed," he said.
Prospero, you are the master of illusion.
Lying is your trademark.
And you have lied so much to me
(lied about the world, lied about me)
that you have ended by imposing on me
an image of myself.
underdeveloped, you brand me, inferior,
That ís the way you have forced me to see myself
I detest that image! What's more, it's a lie!
But now I know you, you old cancer,
and I know myself as well.
- Caliban, in Aime Cesaire's "The Tempest"
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