South American nations forge union

Twelve nations gather to create regional economic and political bloc.

    Alvaro Uribe, Colombia's president, left, has refused to be a part of the Unasur [AFP]

    Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil's president, who stands to gain regional clout from the grouping, said that this was a sign that South America was becoming a "global actor".

    'Number one enemy'

    Brazil also wants Unasur to co-ordinate defence affairs across South America.

    Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, said the association was a counterweight to the US.

    "The number one enemy of the union of the south is the empire of the United States trying to generate wars in

    South America to divide and conquer," he said.

    Lula invited other Latin American and Caribbean nations, saying

    : "Unasur is born, open to the entire region, born under the signs of diversity and pluralism."

    However, the grouping is not without its divisions.

    Borja stepped down as the union's secretary-general on Thursday saying

    that some leaders had balked at his vision of putting regional trade blocs

    within Unasur's remit.

    Leaders were also split over plans for a South American defence council that would resolve conflicts,

    promote military co-operation and possibly co-ordinate joint weapons production.

    Colombia had not only opposed joining the council but had turned down the presidency

    because of its dispute with Venezuela and Ecuador over Farc rebels.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.