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EU President Calls for Closer Cooperation Between Europe, South America


Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva has called for deepening political and economic ties between the European Union and South America.

Mr. Cavaco Silva said Portugal will use its current term in the rotating EU presidency to strengthen political cooperation with South America and to revive trade talks. He spoke in Lisbon after meeting Thursday with Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez.

The Uruguayan leader is head of the South American trade bloc, Mercosur, which also includes Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

Talks on a trade agreement between Mercosur and EU officials began in 1999, but broke down in 2004.

Mr. Vazquez also voiced his support for closer ties between the two regional organizations.

On Tuesday, Mr. Vazquez met with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels. The two discussed the possibility of a joint declaration expressing the commitment of the two organizations to seek closer ties.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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