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Ibero-American summit ends with agreement on social cohesion, fighting against poverty
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15:39, November 11, 2007

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The 17th Ibero-American Summit wrapped up here on Saturday with agreements on coordinated efforts to fight poverty and promote social cohesion.

Leaders of Spain, Portugal, Andorra and 19 Latin American countries signed the Santiago Declaration, pledging joint efforts for more united and equal societies, as well as better social security and aid systems.

A total of 15 agreements were reached at the summit, including the Multilateral Social Security Convention, which will allow nearly 6 million migrant workers in Latin America, Spain and Portugal to transfer social security benefits between their nations.

"It will be the Ibero-American community's first concrete agreement," said Enrique Iglesias, secretary-general of the Ibero-American Secretariat.

The meeting, started on Thursday, also endorsed an accord on electronic governments, which aimed to boost the transparency and effectiveness of governmental organizations.

The summit was "not about just making romantic declarations, they're about identifying what we can do working together," said the host of the summit, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

"There's diversity in our region but we know political unity is indispensable, so we can have a voice that's heard," she said.

The leaders also call on the United States to end its four-decade economic blockage against Cuba.

Annual summit has been organized by the Ibero-American Community of Nations since 1991. The next summit will be held in El Salvador.

As part of the Santiago summit, a two-day business conference was held in Chilean capital. The meeting, attended by some 200 business people from the 22 nations, mulled trade agreements with fast-growing Asian countries like India and China.

Some 79 million people, or 14.7 percent of the population within the community, live in extreme poverty, according to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Source: Xinhua

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