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Backgrounder: Key facts of South American-Arab summit

English.news.cn   2012-10-01 10:20:31            

LIMA, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Third Summit of South American and Arab Countries (ASPA) will be held here on Monday and Tuesday, with participants from 12 South American countries and 22 Arab countries as well as the Arab League.

Originally set to take place in February 2011 but postponed due to the unrest in Egypt and other Arab countries, the two-day summit is largely focused on promoting business between the two regions, with a parallel CEO Summit attended by both government and business leaders.

Politics should also loom large on the agenda, especially with the ongoing Syria crisis and the affect on its neighbors in the Middle East, and the wave of violent protests around the globe sparked by an anti-Islamic film made in the United States.

ASPA was created as a bi-regional mechanism to promote cooperation on politics, economy, culture, environment, science and technology, as well as social issues.

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva proposed the creation of ASPA after his December 2003 tour of Arab nations, including Syria, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Libya. The group was formally established in 2004 with the help of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and the Arab League.

The first ASPA Summit, held in Brazil in 2005, endorsed the Brasilia Declaration calling for a fair world trade system and a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

The leaders agreed that a transparent, non-discriminatory and fair multilateral trade system was "fundamental for developing countries to benefit from globalization."

The second summit, held in Qatar in 2009, focused more on politics, given the war in Iraq and conflict in Sudan at the time.

A final 11-point declaration from the second conference included joint statements in support of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and an Arab initiative for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, as well as on financial and economic cooperation.

Participants at this third summit could be expected to issue a statement on Syria.

Editor: znz
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