|Participants pose for a group photo during the opening of the first summit of Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union (UE) in Santiago, capital of Chile, on Jan. 26, 2013. (Xinhua/AGENCIA UNO)
SANTIAGO, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Latin American Community of States (CELAC) and the European Union (EU) said Saturday that they would forge deeper strategic partnership.
Leaders of the two blocs said in a declaration that they are committed to the implementation of an economic cooperation plan and ratified a new plan on judicial cooperation.
The declaration stressed sustainable development, saying that economic growth should not add to inequality or jeopardize the environment.
It also included an expression of solidarity with Cuba, which would chair CELAC this year. It specifically slammed the Helms-Burton Act, a piece of U.S. legislation that sanctions non-U.S. firms that do business with Cuba.
The CELAC came into being in 2010 thanks to efforts by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez to create a region-wide body without the participation of the United States.
Some 43 heads of state and government, out of 60 invited, attended the CELAC-EU summit scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
The two regional groups agreed to hold their next summit in the Belgian city of Brussels.