Nov 1, 1988


PUNTA DEL ESTE, URUGUAY OCTOBER 29 (IPS) The Presidents of the Group of Eight countries have identified political dialogue with the industrialised countries, particularly the United States, as the top priority for Latin America, according to the "Uruguay declaration" signed here Saturday.

In a 16-page document, the leaders called for "immediate action" to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Central America, combat drug trafficking, strengthen integration and resolve the trade, financial and monetary problems plaguing the region.

The presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela met in this resort town from thursday through Saturday, the second such meeting since the Group of Eight was created.

In their analysis, the Presidents stressed their conviction of the need to re-formulate international economic relations, saying, "the stage of isolated treatment of each of the problems that affects U.S. is over".

Those problems, according to the declaration, include "the debt, protectionism and other obstacles to international trade (and) insufficient financing for development".

But except for a number of cultural agreements, the only concrete initiative of importance in the declaration is the decision to convene a meeting of the group's Finance Ministers.

Brazilian Finance Minister Mailson Da Nobrega reported Friday that the meeting will probably be held in December in Rio de Janeiro.

The two countries were vying for one of the three ECOSOC seats allocated to the Latin American and Caribbean countries.

With 123 votes in its favour, Nicaragua was elected by the General Assembly. Brazil and The Bahamas were elected to the Council Wednesday with 117 and 108 votes, respectively.

The Council has 54 members. The 18 new members elected this week will serve for a three-year period starting January 1, 1989.

In addition to Nicaragua, Brazil and The Bahamas, the General Assembly also elected five countries from the "African" group Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia and Zambia -- and four from the "Asian" group -- Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan and Thailand.

Another four were elected from the "western Europe and other" group -- Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand and United States -- as were two from the "eastern Europe" group -- Czechoslovakia and the Ukraine.

ECOSOC coordinates the economic and social activities of the United Nations and its specialised agencies.

It has six permanent commissions -- statistics, population, social development, human rights, legal and social status of women and narcotics -- and five regional commissions including the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

This is the second time Nicaragua has been a part of ECOSOC. It needed the Council in 1981.