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Latin American Leaders Meet on Energy, Trade Cooperation
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Latin American leaders on Saturday met in the northern Venezuelan city of Barquisimeto, to talk about boosting regional cooperation in energy, trade and other sectors.

The summit, dubbed as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), drew together Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega and Cuba's Vice President of Council of Ministers Carlos Lage. Six Latin American nations including Haiti, Ecuador and Uruguay attended the meeting as observers.

Chavez, whose nation hosts the two-day summit, said that Venezuela hopes to sign a deal with Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Haiti to become the sole energy supplier to the four countries.

Chavez also said Venezuela will submit a package of cooperation plans in education, medical care, energy and industry to the summit. The member states of ALBA will make joint efforts to eliminate illiteracy in the region, he added.

ALBA was formed in 2004 by Venezuela and Cuba to beef up regional cooperation and to oppose the US-backed free trade area. Bolivia and Nicaragua joined the bloc in April, 2006, and this January respectively.

(Xinhua News Agency April 29, 2007)

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