"We are working on regional integration and not only working, but getting there," stressed President Hugo Chávez upon his arrival in the Citizens' Service Center in the Province of Santa Elena, Ecuador
The 11th Presidential Meeting between Ecuador's Rafael Correa and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez began on Tuesday in the Ecuadorian seaside resort of Salinas, where they made a call for Latin American integration.
"We are working on regional integration and not only working, but to achieve," said Chávez upon his arrival in the Citizens' Service Center in the Province of Santa Elena, Efe reported.
Correa and Chávez arrived in a four-wheel drive vehicle driven by the Ecuadorian president and before entering the venue of the meeting they greeted dozens of supporters and a number of journalists.
The Venezuelan president stressed that the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) is one of the most appropriate options to further regional integration in Latin America.
"We are living a very important moment," Chávez added, the Unasur has been created and next July 5 the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (ECLAC) will be born in a meeting to be held in Caracas.
"The relationship between Ecuador and Venezuela is an engine for Latin American integration," added Chávez, who said that in the meantime the governments of countries known as "hegemonic" -referring to the United States and its allies- have bombed Arab nations like Libya.
That action, which has been deployed amidst the silence of most countries in the world, seeks above all to seize the North African oil in the ground, said the Venezuelan president.
Consequently, Chavez said, integration is intended to turn Latin America into "a zone of peace and democracy" that fights further invasions or destabilization processes by powerful foreign players.
Finally, after the opening of the meeting, the Venezuelan president encouraged Correa to hold their next bilateral meeting in three months in Caracas.
Correa, meanwhile, ruled out media reports that both presidents had grown apart, because the meeting they held on Tuesday was delayed for several months.
"Work, work and more work for our peoples," Correa offered and agreed that the objective of the two leaders is the unity in Latin America.
"We have no right to fail, to waste time," said Correa.
The two leaders are reviewing several joint projects and agreements, in order to check their progress.
They are expected to sign two agreements on tourism and science and technology, and a joint declaration on bilateral projects on energy, trade, production and social matters.
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."