The first summit of the South American Community of Nations (CSN) concluded here Friday, with member countries calling for a concrete integration process in the region.
The one-day summit closed with the signing of important documents promoting free trade and infrastructure construction to benefit CSN members.
In the Declaration of Brasilia, leaders of the bloc committed to advancing in a gradual way toward commercial liberalization.
A free trade zone in the future will require convergence and complementation among CSN countries, said the declaration.
CSN members agreed to deepen the convergence between the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) and the Andean Community (Ancom), two regional organizations in South America, it said.
The declaration also includes the promotion of energy integration, environment protection, creation of financial mechanisms and reduction in developmental gaps.
At the end of the summit, Bolivian President Eduardo Rodriguez Veltze, whose country will host the next summit, termed the CSN as the consolidation of a new political space.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in his speech that "there is no other alternative for us than integration," while his Peruvian counterpart, Alejandro Toledo, praised the role of Mercosur and Ancom in the creation of the CSN.
"The moment has come to face the asymmetries within the region and seek innovating development mechanisms," said Toledo.
The Peruvian president called for the realization of infrastructure projects to improve the physical integration of the region, and he also stressed the importance of financing security to carry out the projects.
The infrastructure to be constructed in the region includes roads and bridges, a subway system in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, hydroelectric plants, and powerlines over Uruguay and railroads in Chile.
Meanwhile, the CSN summit announced that it will strengthen and diversify relations with the Arab and African countries.
CSN leaders committed in a statement to follow-up actions for carrying out recommendations put forward by South American and Arab countries during a May summit in Brasilia.
The participants in the first CSN summit said it is necessary to make use of the drive generated by the May event.
Leaders from South American and Arab countries will hold a summit meeting in Algiers, capital of Algeria, on Nov. 10-20.
Other meetings between the two continents include a ministerial meeting on culture in Algiers and a ministerial meeting on economic issues in Quito, capital of Ecuador, both to be held in the first half of 2006.
South American leaders also agreed to convene a summit meeting between the CSN and the African Union.
The CSN, formed on Dec. 8, 2004, in the Peruvian city of Cuzco, groups Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Guyana, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Its establishment was considered as an important step toward South American integration.