Latin American and European leaders kick off trade summit

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, January 26, 2013 16:30 EDT
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) is welcomed by Chilean President Sebastian Pinera to the opening of the Latin American and Caribbean States-European Union Summit in Santiago, on Jan. 26, 2013. Photo via AFP.
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European leaders kicked off a two-day summit with their Latin American counterparts here Saturday seeking closer trade ties but also assurances on free trade and investment protection.

The summit opened with children’s songs and welcome messages from ordinary Latin American citizens.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, the summit host, then formally initiated the proceedings, calling for “construction of a new strategic alliance to achieve sustainable development.”

The summit brings together European Union leaders with their counterparts from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

Set up in Caracas in December 2011 at the behest of Venezuela, CELAC groups all American nations except the United States and Canada and aims to boost regional trade and integration.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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