Convene an international high-level conference to ban nuclear weapons, says Summit of Latin American Leaders

On December 3, leaders from 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean formally established the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) as the new leading regional bloc. The leaders also elected Chile's President Sebastian Pinera as temporary president of CELAC until the group's next summit, which is scheduled to be held in Chile next year (See Latin American leaders officially sign CELAC into effect as new bloc).

As he opened the summit, Mexican President Felipe Calderon spoke of the ideal of regional integration that inspired many Latin American independence heroes. "Today, two centuries later, the ideal still holds and is common to all Latin Americans and Caribbeans. Political, economic, social and cultural integration is a life aspiration, one that is fundamental to our peoples. This is not just about bringing together people, but about rallying Latin Americans and Caribbeans around justice, democracy and civil rights."

In addition to establishing CELAC, the leaders adopted a number of documents on key issues including poverty alleviation, education, civil rights, peace and disarmament. The disarmament document included a number of decisions, aspirations and proposals on nuclear disarmament – including preparing joint positions for the 2015 NPT Review Conference (and the 2012, 2013 and 2014 NPT Prep Coms), and a call for the convening of a high-level conference “to identify ways and methods to eliminate nuclear weapons as soon as possible” with a view to establishing a time-bound framework to “ prohibit the development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use, and also stipulate their destruction.”

Concluding two days of summit talks, the upbeat group of Latin American leaders praised the formal constitution of CELAC as a historic milestone in regional development and pledged to remain united in order to gain maximum power and influence as a block in world affairs.