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Complied by Cass Gilroy-Business Editor

African and South American leaders pledge cooperation

The first summit of leaders from Africa and South America, held in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, approved a declaration and plan of action which will act as guidelines in strengthening cooperation between the two regions. The Abuja declaration stresses the importance of the two regions working together in matters of common interest, including the reform of the United Nations, negotiations at the World Trade Organisation, and the operations of the institutions of justice and legality in Africa and in South America.

The heads of state and their governments also pledged to work together on peacekeeping, security and stability, and harmonise their positions to ensure justice in the world. In the socio-economic area, the declaration stresses the need for greater commitment to increasing food production and food security, to promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, to developing infrastructures, and to promoting initiatives within the energy and mineral resources sectors.

The leaders of the two regions also promised to do all in their power to increase tourism, for their mutual benefit. When he opened the meeting host, president Olusegun Obasanjo, said that the event was a test of the ability of the two regions to increase their cooperation and integration, bearing in mind their historical ties, and the similar situation through which they are currently passing.

For his part, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who was one of those behind the initiative, called on the two regions to work side by side to overcome the serious social and economic problems that hold back the development of both Africa and South America. The leaders agreed that a second summit should be held in 2009, in Venezuela.


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