Lula insists on physical integration of South America

28/06/2003 - 0h56

Medelín (Columbia), 6/30/2003 (Agência Brasil-ABr) - President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva once again insisted on the physical integration of South America, beginning with the creation of a free trade area joining the Andean Community and Mercosur. Speaking at the XIV Summit of the Andean Presidential Council, Lula declared: "All the presidents here are convinced that political, cultural and economic integration is important. In order for this integration to occur, we need physical integration. We need roads, railroads and waterways that connect us to each other."

Lula went on to say that he hopes that within the next two or three years there is going to be more integration than in the last ten or twenty years, especially with Columbia.

Lula was invited to the summit by the president of Columbia, Alvaro Uribe, who called Lula a "great builder of consensus, something much needed in societies characterized by high levels of conflict, such as those in South America... He honors us with his presence." Lula was the first non-Andean president to attend a council meeting. (AB)