ALBA summit ends with entry of guest countries
Suriname and St. Lucia also intend to join Petrocaribe, an energy integration scheme
The presidents of the member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) ended on Sunday their 11th Summit by approving the accession of Suriname and St. Lucia, and confirmed Haiti as an observer.
The presidents and heads of state ended on Sunday the meeting held in the Miraflores Palace, the official seat of the Executive branch of government in Venezuela. The ALBA leaders signed on Saturday a declaration to back Argentina in its dispute with Great Britain over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas Islands). At the closing session of the Summit, the group also adopted a statement to support the Syrian government against "the interference" of foreign powers.
Bolivia's President Evo Morales proposed the creation of an ALBA Defense Council to establish a new doctrine for the armed forces, "to make the military serve the interests of the peoples rather than the (U.S.) empire's."
"The Armed Forces should never allow foreign military bases in our countries," he said.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez welcomed the proposal and instructed the Political Council to assess it and prepare a report.
The ALBA presidents also approved the accession of Suriname and the Caribbean island of St. Lucia as special guest members, as a prior step to their full entry. They also confirmed Haiti as an ALBA observer.
So far, ALBA comprises Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Bolivia, Ecuador and Antigua and Barbuda.
Suriname and St. Lucia also intend join Petrocaribe, an energy integration scheme.
Following a wave of nationalizations carried out by the late President Hugo Chavez between 2007 and 2012, Venezuela has become the second most frequent respondent to investment treaty arbitration in the world (38 cases in total), after Argentina.