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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 May, 2005, 21:27 GMT 22:27 UK
Arabs make new friends in Brazil
By Steve Kingstone
BBC News, Brasilia

Abdul Rahman Bin Hamad Al-Atiyah of the Gulf Cooperation Council listens as the Brazilian president speaks
The summit was aimed at challenging developed countries
The first summit of Latin American and Arab states has ended in Brazil with a vow to work together to promote economic growth and alleviate poverty.

The two-day meeting brought together leaders and representatives of 34 countries from Latin America, north Africa and the Middle East.

Its closing declaration included criticism of Israel and the US.

The countries pledged to jointly seek reform of international trade, seen by many as favouring rich countries.

Thanking the delegates for attending, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the world was in a new age and that this was a solid new relationship - part of a broader economic and political alliance in the developing world.

UN ambitions

Overtly political statements in the closing declaration included a call on Israel to dismantle settlements in the occupied territories and to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders.

The leaders expressed deep concern about the imposition of sanctions on Syria by the US.

They declared that US policy violated international law.

There was a call, too, for the elimination of farm subsidies through the World Trade Organization and for reform of the United Nations.

Brazil and Egypt are among the countries seeking a permanent seats on the Security Council.

Finally, the summit approved a resolution by Argentina criticising the European Union's constitutional treaty.

It lists the Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic as a British overseas territory but Argentina disputes the islands' sovereignty.



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