Languages
Page last updated at 20:00 GMT, Friday, 23 May 2008 21:00 UK

South America nations found union

Unasur summit in Brasilia on 23 May 2008
Some members hope Unasur could become a regional version of the EU

The leaders of 12 South American nations have formed a regional body aimed at boosting economic and political integration in the region.

At a summit in Brazil, they signed a treaty which created the Union of South American Nations (Unasur).

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the move showed that South America was becoming a "global player".

But tensions between several members will make it difficult for the group to achieve its goals, observers say.

Mr Lula said at the summit in Brasilia that the differences between some Unasur governments were a sign of vitality in the region.

"The instability some want to see in our continent is a sign of life, especially political life," Mr Lula said.

"There's no democracy without people [protesting] in the streets," he added.

The treaty envisages that Unasur will have a revolving presidency and bi-annual meetings of foreign ministers.

Prior to the Brasilia summit, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez described the "empire" of the United States as Unasur's "number one enemy".

Mr Chavez is embroiled in a bitter diplomatic row with his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe - a staunch US ally - over Colombian claims that Venezuela has been helping to finance the activities of the Colombian Farc rebels.

The Unasur members are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2013 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific