In an effort to integrate the Arab region with South America to create a new geopolitical space of global importance, Suriname is the latest Latin American country to recognize a Palestinian State on 1967 borders. The decision taken by Suriname, a member of the Islamic Conference Organization (OIC) and the Islamic Development Bank, was welcomed by the Secretary General of the OIC, who hoped that the rest of the world would recognize Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Meanwhile, the third Summit of South American-Arab Countries (ASPA) that was going to be taken place during February 13-16 in Peru was postponed because of the crisis in Egypt. Brazil is the Regional Coordinator of ASPA for South America, a mechanism for bi-regional cooperation and a forum for political coordination. The aim of the summit is to create a strong Arab-Latin American alliance to expand Arab and Islamic global impact.

The summit, headed by Brazil, was criticized in a cable by the US Embassy in Brasilia: "Brazil does not understand Middle East affairs, it's only joining the 'anti-Israel' choir," wrote Ambassador Clifford Sobel in one of his diplomatic messages to the State Department, as revealed by Wikileaks.

From the press:

  • Arab, South American region to create geopolitical space of global importance
  • Organization of the Islamic Conference welcomes recognition by Suriname
  • Suriname recognizes Palestinian Statehood
  • South America/Arab countries' business summit in Peru next April
  • US condemns South American/Arab leaders summits, say Wikileaks cables
  • Third Summit of South American-Arab Countries has been suspended

February 1, 2011

Arab, South American region to create geopolitical space of global importance

The integration of the Arab region with South America will create a new geopolitical space of global importance, as they control over 50% of the world's natural resources, the Arab Federation in Peru vice president, Yassin Kaoud, said.

"Both regions account for more than half of the planet's resources and its production exceeds USD $4 trillion a year," he told Andina. […] He also indicated that the conditions for a greater migratory movement and of integration between the Arab region and South America already exist, as Brazil is home for 12 million Arabs and Argentina for 6 million, as well as other countries in the region. Meanwhile, Kaoud estimated a population of 20,000 Arabs living in Peru, of which 95% are Palestinians. Andina (Peru)

February 3, 2011

Organization of the Islamic Conference welcomes recognition by Suriname

The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, welcomed the recognition by the Republic of Suriname, an OIC member state, of the state of Palestine as a free and independent state within the 1967 borders.

The secretary general pointed out that this step comes in light of the growing international recognition of the state of Palestine, and represents an important development in supporting the Palestinian's inalienable rights, including the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

He stressed that this is in line with the UN resolutions, and establishes an important stage in the history of the Palestinian people and their just cause. Ihsanoglu hoped that the rest of the world would recognize Palestine as a free and independent state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 and East Jerusalem as its capital. Daily News (Pakistan)

February 2, 2011

Suriname recognizes Palestinian Statehood

The Republic of Suriname on Tuesday [February 1] became the latest South American country officially to recognize a Palestinian state on 1967 borders, Palestinian Authority Foreign Affairs Minister Riad Al-Malki said. Surinamese President Desi Bouterse sent a letter to his PA counterpart Mahmoud Abbas via the Palestinian ambassador in Brazil, announced Al-Malki.

Bouterse expressed Suriname's support for Palestinian national rights and the establishment of a state on 1967 borders in the letter which was also sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the minister said. The 1967 borders include East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, lands occupied by Israel in the Six Day War.

In a brief statement President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed […] Suriname's recognition of the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. President Mahmoud Abbas had met with the Surinamese President Dési Bouterse in a visit to Brazil in December 2010 previous to the taking office ceremony of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff. Al-Malki said the latest recognition was another achievement of Palestinian diplomacy, which has focused on international recognition since negotiations with Israel collapsed in September.

In recognizing Palestine, Suriname joins other Latin-American countries that have taken the same path: Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Suriname, a former Dutch colony, is a member of the Islamic Conference Organization and the Islamic Development Bank. MercoPress (South Atlantic News Agency)

February 10, 2011

South America/Arab countries business summit in Peru next April

The South American/Arab Countries' III Business Summit will take place April 19 and 20 in Peru, confirmed the organizers of the event that was to be held parallel to the suspended South America/Arab Leaders' Summit (ASPA) this month in Lima.

"We hope to bring together over 500 business people from Middle East and South America", said Patricia Teullet General Manager for ComexPeru, a lobby of companies linked to export industries.

The business meeting originally was to be held next week previous to the ASPA summit (13/16 February) suspended by the Arab League because of the political situation in Egypt, which forced a reprogramming of the event. […] The Arab countries block import annually over 600 billion US dollars and invest overseas 163 billion USD. Among its members are countries such as Qatar and the Arab Emirates with a per capita income above 45.000 US dollars. MercoPress (South Atlantic News Agency)

February 7, 2011

US condemns South American/Arab leaders summits, say Wikileaks cables

Brazilian policy towards Middle East and the Arab world harm US strategy in the region according to US embassy diplomatic cables between 2004 and 2009, recently exposed by Wikleaks. Cables also reveal non complementary comments on former Brazilian president Lula da Silva, and criticize the Brazilian sponsored initiative of an Arab South American leaders' summit, the third of which was to be held mid February in Peru but was suspended because of events in Egypt.

"Harmful policies and equivocal statements from Brazil on the region hamper US policy in the Middle East," wrote then-ambassador in Brasilia Clifford Sobel in 2008, reports Folha de Sao Paulo, quoting one of the leaked cable. The US embassy also condemned the idea of President Lula da Silva of organizing the summit between leaders from South America and Arab countries.

"Brazil does not understand Middle East affairs, it's only joining the 'anti-Israel' choir" full of clichés and banalities, wrote Ambassador Sobel in one of his diplomatic messages to the State Department. In the best of cases Brazilian policy towards Middle East is "out of place and statements only hamper key issues of the current negotiations".

An Egyptian diplomat is quoted in one of the cables describing Brazil's approach to the Middle East as "transparent" and intent in mustering support for its goal of becoming a member of the UN Security Council. […] MercoPress (South Atlantic News Agency)

February 6, 2011

Third Summit of South American-Arab Countries has been suspended

[…] The third Summit of South American-Arab Countries (ASPA) was going to take place during February 13-16, but the crisis in Egypt forced the postponement until March or April […]. The dates will be discussed with the Arab League. […]

The four-day summit will bring together 34 heads of state and governments from South American and Arab Countries. Meetings of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and of High Level Officials will also be held during these days. […] Living in Peru (Peru)

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