The Brazilian Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, said today, after a meeting with the secretary general of the League of Arab States, Amr Mussa, at the Itamaraty, the Brazilian Foreign Office, that the Summit of South American and Arab Countries is already producing effects.
“The summit is already a success even before taking place,” he said. As an example he mentioned a 50% increase in trade between Brazil and the Arab countries last year.
Amorim also recalled the bi-regional events turned to other areas, such as the seminar about the semiarid and the seminar about Arab culture, which took place respectively in Fortaleza (Northeast Brazil) and in São Paulo (Southeast Brazil), in 2004.
According to the Foreign Minister, the most important effect of these closer ties is the change in the manner in which each region sees the other.
According to Amorim, some time ago, when the idea for the summit came up, people were asking what the reason for this event was. “Now they are asking: why didn’t we organize this summit before?”
The secretary general of the League of Arab States, Amr Mussa, also stated that he believes the summit of Arab and South American countries will be a success.
“We want it to be a great success and to be fruitful for both sides,” he said, during a talk to students at the Rio Branco Institute, the Brazilian academy for diplomats, in Brasília.
According to him, the idea of organizing the summit was received with great enthusiasm by the Arab leaders since President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva presented the proposal for the first time, during his visit to five Arab countries, in December 2003.
Mussa pointed out that the objective of the meeting is to make both regions work together in the search for common interests. The secretary general is meeting Amorim and President Lula. The main topic to be discussed should be the final preparation of the summit.