Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim opened the Meeting of Chancellors of the South American Community of Nations, in the Itamaraty Palace, today, by urging the countries to adopt a vision of political audacity and not allow bureaucratic considerations to hinder progress in negotiations among the countries.
“It is essential for the political will of our leaders to stand out and for this will to be translated into concrete actions and programs. We have made progress, but I believe that the advances are not mature enough for us to offer our presidents a truly just program, as it should be when it comes to the South American Community,” he said.
At the opening of the encounter, Amorim recalled that less than two years after the first meeting on the physical integration of South America, the countries concluded their first free trade agreements.
He observed that the countries of South America are united today not only by commercial agreements, but by various infrastructure projects as well, which are turning South America into an integrated continent for the first time.
According to the Itamaraty, the purpose of today’s meeting is to work out the details for the Meeting of Heads of State of the Community, scheduled to take place in August, in Rio de Janeiro.
The nine chancellors present – the chancellors of Argentina, Colombia, and Surinam failed to attend – should also discuss the goals and proposals to be presented in Rio for the South American Community of Nations.
The South American Community of Nations was created at the III Meeting of South American Presidents, in Cuzco, Peru, last December. Its chief aim is to effectuate the physical and economic integration of its member countries within a 15-year period.
The 12 member countries represent a population of 360 million people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the total of goods and services produced in these countries – of US$ 800 billion. Besides Brazil, the community includes Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay, and Venezuela.