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Unasur leaders vow to promote regional integration
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15:59, August 11, 2009

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The 12 member countries of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) agreed on Monday to strengthen regional integration.

Presidents and representatives from the countries signed a Declaration of Quito, which commits the 12 members to pursue integration in a wide range of areas.

The declaration urges the Unasur Energy Council to map out an energy strategy, an action plan and an integration project.

It also calls on the Unasur economy ministers to complete research on the creation of a Bank of the South, a fund of common reserves and the possible use of a regional payment and compensation system.

In the document, the Unasur leaders agreed to prioritize public health over economic and commercial interests, considering medicine as a public good in cases such as pandemics.

They also proposed to create the Council of Human Rights, and councils on the fight against drug trafficking, infrastructure and planning, social development as well as education, culture, science and technology.

Regarding the June 28 coup in Honduras that removed President Manuel Zelaya from power, the declaration said, "There will not be recognition, by any means, of the rupture from the democratic institutional order. We will not recognize any election issuing from the de facto (Honduran) government."

Although the Colombia-U.S. military agreement was discussed at the summit, the declaration did not include any statement about it. The Unasur leaders agreed to hold an extraordinary summit in Buenos Aires to discuss the issue.

The United States is negotiating with Colombia to use seven Colombian military bases after Ecuador refused to renew a treaty with Washington to use its Manta Air Base.

Unasur, set up in 2008, groups Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Source: Xinhua

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