Brazilian and Arab diplomats are optimistic about the possible results of the summit between Arab and South American countries, to take place on May 10th and 11th in Brazilian capital BrasÀlia.
To some it is already producing effects, such as the increase in trade. To others, it will be a first step for consolidation of relations that were left in the background for a long time.
“The concrete result that may be expected is the summit itself, which has already been successful, it has changed the world. Never in the history of our relations with the Arabs has anything of the kind taken place. In fact, there has never been an initiative like this one in foreign politics,” stated the Brazilian ambassador in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Aran Emirates, Flávio Sapha.
Sapha summarized the opinion of his colleagues at the Brazilian Foreign Office (Itamaraty), and of Foreign Minister Celso Amorim himself: that the summit is already producing effects, even before taking place, and that it is going to enter the history of foreign relations.
“It is already a very concrete thing to make this event take place. It will be a great step for South-South cooperation,” stated Elim Dutra, the Brazilian ambassador in Cairo.
In the evaluation of the Brazilian diplomats, the visit president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took to five Arab countries showed how much political meetings may result in growth or economic ties.
After the Brazilian president’s trip, in December 2003, trade between Brazil and the region rose by almost 50%.
“There has already been an impact in trade,” stated ambassador Vera Pedrosa, undersecretary general for political affairs at the Itamaraty, who is acting directly in the organization of the event.
She recalled that the same occurred in economic relations with other countries with which Brazil tried to expand political articulation, like the neighbors in South America, India, South Africa and China.
“And I am also talking about investment, not only Arab investment here, but also investment by our companies, like Petrobras and Vale do Rio Doce, there,” she added.
After over 20 years, Brazilian oil giant Petrobras returned to doing business with the Arab countries. The company signed a cooperation accord with Algerian oil company Sonatrach in 2003, participated in a tender to explore gas in Saudi Arabia in 2004 (but did not win) and won a tender to explore oil in Libya at the beginning of this year.
Mining company Vale do Rio Doce, apart from exporting ore to the region in great volumes, has 50% of an iron pellet factory in Bahrain.
For Arab diplomats, the summit is going to be a step towards consolidation of relations between both regions.
“We hope that the result is the solidification of relations between the Arabs and South Americans,” stated the Jordanian ambassador in Brasília, Faris Muft.
In his evaluation, relations between both blocs were “sleeping” and the summit represents a “return” to more intense cooperation.
In the same lines, the Sudanese ambassador, Rahamtalla Mohamed Osman, stated that the summit will be a “fundamental step towards the construction of concrete relations.”
He warned, however, that there is need for creation of mechanisms to implement the results of the event, be they in the scientific, cultural or economic area.
The Palestinian ambassador and dean of the Council of Arab Ambassadors in Brazil, Mussa Odeh, stated that the summit is going to “strengthen the existing relations” in fields such as trade, investment, political relations and science and technology.
“This will be a great opportunity for both regions,” he said. He added that the meeting will be especially important for the Palestinian people, as it is taking place in a “friendly country” and will count on the participation of nations that support the Palestinian cause.
In the same respect, the Tunisian ambassador, Hassine Bouzid, stated that the summit will be a great occasion to “provide an impulse” to cooperation between both blocs.
“Many opportunities will certainly arise to increase the business volume, especially with regard to investment,” he said.
Greater economic and commercial relations are seen by diplomats as the most predictable concrete result of the meeting. The theme should also be the main topic of discussion between the heads of state and government.
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency