Heads of states and governments attending the 16th Ibero-American Summit, starting here on Friday, are to rebuke the United States for its plan to build a fence along the Mexican border to keep out illegal immigrants .
The three-day summit, which brings together heads of states from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and Equatorial Guinea, will focus on immigration, which has become a hot topic because of the United States' decision to build the 1,100-km-long fence along its border with Mexico, in a bid to halt illegal immigration.
A draft of the final declaration by the Ibero-American leaders is to include a special statement rejecting the fence plan, according to the draft that emerged on Friday.
On Oct. 26, U.S. President George W. Bush authorized construction of the fence, drawing widespread criticism from Latin America.
Mexico has said that the fence was an insult and would not solve migration problems, and Mexico's president-elect Felipe Calderon has compared it to the Berlin Wall.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who was here for the Ibero-American Summit, said on Friday that growing immigration problems "must be tackled through diplomacy and agreements, not through fence-building."
On the regional front, the heads of states and governments are to discuss better regional cooperation on energy issues, among other issues.
The leaders are planning a commitment "to guarantee the supply and ...minimise the costs of transactions in the energy market," said the draft of the final declaration.
As for other regional issues, Venezuela will try to mend fences with its neighbors, after its failed bid to replace Argentina as Latin America's representative on the UN Security Council.
Uruguay and Argentina are also at loggerheads over the construction of two controversial paper mills along the Uruguay River that Argentina deems highly polluting.
The United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan will address the region's leaders for the last time before stepping down on Dec. 31, to be succeeded by the South Korean, Ban Ki Moon.
The summit will also be marked by significant absences, as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, Cuba's Fidel Castro, Guatemala's Oscar Berger, Nicaragua's Enrique Bolanos, Panama's Martin Torrijos, Peru's Alan Garcia and the Dominican Republic's Leonel Fernandez, will not be attending the meeting.