Brazilians and Arabs Find Consensus on World Affairs

    The heads of state participating in the summit between Arabs and South Americans, to take place in May 2005, in BrasÀ­lia, should not find it too hard to reach a declaration of consensus.

    This is due to the fact that, according to the head of the Latin America department at the League of Arab States, Ibrahim Mohiedinne, there are traditionally few differences between the positions of countries in both blocks at international forums.


    “Both blocs frequently share the same point of view with regard to world affairs. We defend the same points of view: those of the third world, both at United Nations meetings, and at worldwide economic institutions,” he said.


    “If, for example, we observe the World Trade Organization (WTO), we will notice that countries in both regions share, in most cases, the same points of view. Apart from that, respect to the United Nations Charter and to the sovereignty of countries are points in which both the Arab countries and the South American bloc agree very much,” he added.


    According to him, this was the climate of the first meeting of the summit’s preparatory committee, which took place on October 30 and 31 in Cairo, Egypt.


    There were few difference and various suggestions were presented on both sides. Representatives from the 22 Arab countries and from most South American nations participated, except for those from Suriname and Guiana.


    Brazil participated with six diplomats, headed by Vera Pedrosa, the general sub-secretary of Policies at the Itamaraty, the Brazilian Foreign Office.


    “This first preparatory meeting by the committee is part of a series of three (or more) to take place before the summit,” stated Mohiedinne.


    The diplomats from both blocs have already started discussing the declaration to be presented at the end of the summit.


    There will also be preliminary meetings in New York, in December, and in Cairo, in February.


    The foreign relations ministers of the countries involved will meet in Morocco, in March, for the final agreements.


    At the meeting to take place in New York, the political side of the final declaration will be discussed. With regard to the next meeting in Cairo, the economic side will be debated.


    Convergence


    Among the points that have already been discussed in the project are efforts for cooperation between both regions, multilateralism, international trade, the international financial system, sustainable development, and the fight against poverty.


    “The delegations have taken the project for the final declaration, and the content should be analysed by those participating in coming weeks. Each country may then add its observations,” stated Mohiedinne.


    Among the subjects in which a consensus has been reached are the development of south-south trade, economic integration between both regions, the establishment of bilateral mechanisms for investment in strategic sectors, like energy, telecommunications, and transport, the coordination of business at the WTO and the strengthening of the organization.


    In the area of science and technology, there is interest in cooperation between both regions in the areas of use of water resources, irrigated agriculture, biotechnology, weather forecast, goat and sheep herding and desertification, among others.


    Culture is also considered an essential element for closer relations. “There is, undoubtedly, an important link between both regions, and it must be explored,” stated Mohiedinne.


    Apart from translation of works that are of reference to the Arabs into Portuguese and Spanish, and vice versa, there is the possibility of creating a system of exchange of scholarships and of organization of conferences joining intellectuals from both blocs.


    The summit will take place considering five pillars: culture, science and technology, the information society and digital inclusion, coordination for operation in the scope of international organizations and the promotion of investment and trade.


    In Cairo, those participating in the preparatory meeting also pointed out the need for respect of international law, human rights, international humanitarian aid, disarmament, sustainable development with social justice and environmental protection.


    Representatives of the countries involved also stressed their full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, and to the peaceful solution of controversies.


    The Arabs pointed out the importance of efficient international cooperation, through the United Nations.


    ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency

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