CARACAS, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo took office on Friday as the president of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) at the organization's 4th summit in the Guyanese capital of Georgetown, according to news reaching here.
Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador, passed Unasur's leadership to his Guyanese counterpart in a broadcast ceremony.
Correa also paid homage to Nestor Kirchner, Argentina's president from 2003 to 2007 who died of a heart attack in October, and to Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva who is set to leave office as Brazil's president on Jan. 1.
The summit is being shown live by government-run Venezolana de Television.
Speaking immediately after Correa presented a report on his term, Jagdeo expressed his gratitude for Guyana's new role in Unasur, a regional organization that he believes will create "hope and will help create the road to the construction of a better world."
Guyana will work to overcome geographical and cultural isolation from its South American neighbors by expanding its trade relations, Jagdeo said.
He said that since its independence in 1966, Guyana has participated in the Community of the Carribbean (Caricom) and Unasur, which was created in Venezuela and formally constituted in 2008 in Brazil. Guyana traditionally sells minerals and its surplus of sugar and rice to Europe and some countries in the Caribbean.
"This plan has been changing," said Jagdeo, who took office as the president of Guyana in 1999 and has been reelected twice. Jagdeo's government has developed hydroelectric projects, highways, bridges, and several agricultural projects.
The one-day Unasur summit attracted presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, Cristina Fernandez of Argentina, Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Desi Bouterse of Surinam.
Foreign ministers at the event included Bolivia's David Choquehuanca, Chile's Alfredo Moreno, Peru's Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde and Uruguay's Luis Almagro.