LIMA -- Peru President Ollanta Humala Tasso opened the third Summit of the Heads of State and Governments of South American-and Arab Countries (ASPA) at the Grand National Theater in Lima on Tuesday.
ASPA is a bi-regional association that aims to promote political, economic, cultural and cooperation ties between South America and the Arab world.
The first two meetings were held in Brasilia and Doha in May 2005 and March 2009 respectively.
With the participation of 34 countries -12 South American and 22 Arab, (absent are Syria, Paraguay and Somalia) - the Summit is held with the coordination and support of the Arab League and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
Paraguay and Syria are not attending the two-day gathering after being suspended by their respective blocs, while Somalia did not send a delegation.
The summit will culminate in the adoption of the Declaration of Lima, which contains 70 points including aspects of policy, economic and financial coordination, as well as cooperation in education, culture and environment.
Welcoming the representatives, Humala expressed his support for the cause of a free, sovereign Palestine during his opening speech.
"There is no lasting peace without justice," Humala said, a main topic of discussion at the meeting and in positions to be adopted in the ASPA summit. "That is why Peru joins the cause for a sovereign and independent Palestine."
Humala argued that justice and peace in world implies observing rigorously international laws and UN principles, including the respect for treaties and the compliance with international law, as well as the use of peaceful means to resolve controversies.
Humala also found common ground in set forth as common ground a culture of peace, inclusion and development -- values shared by Arab and South American countries -- and highlighted the processes of democratic consolidation and inclusive development that characterize his government.
Humala argued that justice entails curbing inequality in societies in both regions and said all citizens must enjoy equal opportunities for their full development with social inclusion.
He offered his country to host ministerial meetings in 2013 to define a concrete agenda of bilateral cooperation projects.
"We can advance fast alone, but together, we will go further," said Humala.