A summit of leaders from American countries has failed to agree on a final declaration amid a split over the inclusion of Cuba in future meetings. The row casts doubt on whether such summits will continue to take place.
Heads of state at the Summit of the Americas held in Colombia have not reached consensus on a final joint declaration owing to varying stances on Cuba.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Sunday that a split about the hostility of the United States towards communist-run Cuba, as well as divisions about Argentine claims to the Falklands islands, had made a joint statement impossible.
Washington, backed by Canada, adamantly opposed demands to include wording in a final declaration specifying that Cuba be included in future hemispheric summits .
The foreign ministers of Venezuela, Argentina and Uruguay said their presidents would decline to sign any declaration unless the US and Canada removed their veto on Cuban participation in the future.
The split may jeopardize the future of the summit. Bolivian President Evo Morales and other leftist leaders say this weekend's meeting under the auspices of the Organization of American States will be the last unless Cuba is invited to future meetings.
The US government objects to what it perceives as a lack of democracy on the island.
Although the administration of US President Barack Obama has made family travel and remittances to Cuba easier, it maintains the US embargo against the island that has been in place for half a century.
The summit was overshadowed by a scandal involving prostitutes and the possible misconduct of US Secret Service agents. Eleven agents are under investigation.
The two-day summit in Cartagena was attended by more than 30 heads of state.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was absent from the summit as he is undergoing treatment for cancer in Cuba. Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa boycotted the meeting over the Cuba issue, while Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega declined to come without any explanation.
The first Summit of the Americas was convened in Miami in 1994 by then-US President Bill Clinton.
tj/mz (AP, Reuters)