Zapatero backs Latin American stability pact

29th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 March 2005, CARACAS- Spain's Socialist government was demonstrating its support for regional consolidation in one corner of South America by taking part in a four-nation summit this week in eastern Venezuela.

29 March 2005

CARACAS- Spain's Socialist government was demonstrating its support for regional consolidation in one corner of South America by taking part in a four-nation summit this week in eastern Venezuela.

But according to Spanish media reports, Zapatero's government has also agreed to
sell four patrol boats and ten transport planes to Venezuela. 

The Spanish daily El Pais which put the value of the deal at EUR 1,3 billion, said Tuesday that the contract also included civilian elements such as tankers.

The Tuesday summit in Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela, will be attended by the leaders of Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil and Spain, and it will be marked by a social agreement that its participants hope will augment regional stability and security, Spain's ambassador in Caracas, Raul Morodo, told EFE.

Participating in the meeting will be Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Colombian and Brazilian counterparts, Alvaro Uribe and Luiz Inazio Lula da Silva, as well as Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The leaders will actually meet in Puerto Ordaz, a portion of Ciudad Guayana, some 310 miles southeast of Caracas.

"The Ciudad Guayana Declaration will establish the basis that will permit us to abandon current distances (between us), focus on goals to get out of poverty, look into social democracy in greater depth and fix international relations on Law and Justice to provide a true north for peace and freedom," Morodo said.

The Spanish diplomat also put special emphasis on the relevance of the integration process under way in Latin America and Madrid's reaffirmation of support for it, which he said would be demonstrated by Zapatero's presence at the summit.

"The support of the Spanish government for the current process of integration in South America comes within this philosophy of social development for the deepening of the democracy and sovereignty of peoples," Morodo said.

"Ibero-Americans see very clearly that a progressive and supportive Spain like the one now represented by the Spanish government is one of the best routes (toward the aforementioned goals), forming a natural bridge between Europe and Ibero-America," he added.

Meanwhile, in Bogota, Colombian Foreign Minister Carolina Barco said several days ago that she felt it was "important to share with Spain the vision we have for the region, for the South American community and the regional projects that we have, to see if we can get them interested and if they will help us."

At the summit, the leaders will also study Spain's possible participation in energy projects to link Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia.

Venezuela's vice minister for Europe, Delcy Rodriguez said that the project agreements that the leaders will sign have a "marked social accent ... (and) are necessary to accelerate the union between Europe and Latin America."

Rodriguez also predicted that the heads of government would speak about "exchanging debt for food (and) for education, and about Zero Hunger, which is President Lula's suggestion," referring to the Brazilian leader's project to eliminate hunger in that country.

At the meeting, the themes of security and international relations will be discussed.

On those matters, Chavez, Lula and Zapatero - all leftists - are advocating multilateralism to confront the policies of other powerful nations, such as the United States.

"In the face of unilateral positions that have been rejected by the majority of the international community, when we speak of the enormous work we're going to have, it has to do with drawing a new world map," Rodriguez said.

Socialist references to "unilateralism" in recent years generally refer to U.S. policies and actions, especially those in Iraq.

After the summit, the Spanish leader will travel to Caracas and Bogota, which two months ago became embroiled in a diplomatic crisis after the capture in Venezuela of a Colombian guerrilla leader by Bogota-paid bounty hunters.

Madrid considers Venezuela and Colombia key nations in Ibero-America and feels that it is necessary to focus on relations with both of them together, rather than pursue completely independent relationships with each.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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