The President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, extended an invitation to Latinamerican and Caribbean leaders to discuss regional integration and development in a meeting scheduled for December 16 and 17 in the northeastern Brazilian city of Salvador, in the state of Bahia.
The announcement was made during a banquet to honor Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Patrick Manning.
"We believe integration must extend to include Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean," said Lula. "South America's integration is a strong tool for Latinamerican and Caribbean integration, to help us overcome the burdensome legacy of inequalities."
The Brazilian president has made regional integration one of the pillars of his administration's foreign policy, "I'd do everything possible," to achieve the union of South American countries has become a constant phrase in his speeches.
The coming meeting in Salvador "is an excellent opportunity for Latinamerica and the Caribbean to discuss how to best coordinate the different integration efforts to which we all belong."
Addressing PM Manning Lula da Silva said that this process needs an association agreement between Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and the Caribbean Community, CARICOM, which includes the English speaking countries of that region.
He advanced that during the second half of 2008, when Brazil holds the pro tempore Mercosur chair he will propose a technical meeting between the two blocks to get discussions going.
Finally Lula praised Trinidad and Tobago for hosting the V Summit of the Americas to be held next year and which will address the issues of human development, energy security and environmental sustainability.