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Peru Hosts Ibero-American Summit - 2001-11-22


The Peruvian government will host the 11th Ibero-American Summit on Friday and Saturday with 19 heads of state plus the King and Queen of Spain attending. The leaders will both look back to evaluate the last decade of summits as well as forward to assess how the group will deal with two pressing problems, terrorism and poverty.

Unlike previous summits, this meeting will encourage informal discussions within presidential working groups to avoid waste-of-time speechmaking. In the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States, terrorism will be a major topic.

Peruvian Foreign Minister Diego Garcia-Sayan says, while the leaders will not deal with the thorny issue of defining terrorism, they will condemn international terrorism and pledge cooperation in confronting the threat of terrorism. He says the summit will acknowledge "...the need to strengthen and improve cooperation of the judicial police and the intelligence levels between the Ibero-American countries and the need to strengthen this struggle against terrorism inside the framework of the charter of the United Nations and the resolutions of the Security Council."

The heads of governments will also call on the developed countries to give the emerging economies more breaks, including preferential access for their exports to the industrial nations. Mr. Garcia-Sayan has said the current worldwide economic slump is particularly hard on the poor countries, which do not have the reserves to weather a long economic downturn. "We're trying to stress very strongly the need to support the poor countries in world trade in which a different sort of treatment must be given to these poor countries in this world market. Of course, there is concern about the external debt and the need of course to find new ways of treatment of the external debt in the short run," he said.

Other issues on the summit's agenda include drug trafficking, human rights, corruption and migration.

Latin American leaders hope the presence of Spain's royal couple and Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar will help them strengthen relations with the European Union. Spain is to take over the EU's rotating presidency next January.

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