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African, South American Leaders Meet at Abuja Summit


African and South American leaders are meeting in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, to discuss a wide range of issues, including economic and political cooperation. Gilbert da Costa has more in this VOA report.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, as host of the first African-South American summit, urged closer ties between the two continents. The Nigerian leader said the Abuja summit was a defining moment for future relations between Africa and South America.

"Today, we must build a permanent bridge of understanding, cooperation, common security, and shared experience and prosperity," he said. "The summit must be the beginning of an enduring partnership. Indeed, the outcome of this summit will be the litmus test of our collective capacity and ability to accelerate the progress of cooperation and collaboration between our two regions."

His Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, said the relevance of the two regions in the global economic and political sphere depends on their ability to forge a strategic partnership that can challenge the existing economic order.

"We have to challenge the existing global political and economic order," he said. "We want to be respected, and we want to share in the wealth the world has provided."

The Libyan leader, Muammar Ghadafi, lashed out at what he called the distortions in the United Nations system, which he said has marginalized developing countries.

He said each of the world's regions deserves at least one permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The leaders are expected to endorse proposals to boost trade, investment, exchange of technology, as well as the establishment of an African-South American bank to finance infrastructure projects, among other agreements.

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