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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called for greater regional integration between South American nations.

"It is with great joy that I welcome my friends, the presidents of South American nations.

What unites us today is a sense of urgency with regard to our region," Lula said at the opening of the summit, which brings South American leaders together.

Brazilian President Lula da Silva receives Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro in Brazil

"A politically organized, strong and secure South America will expand our opportunities for the international affirmation of a true Latin American and Caribbean identity," he added.

The Brazilian president called for the creation of a "high-level group" to draw up a new roadmap for South American integration within 120 days.

Among other things, Lula proposed "putting regional savings at the service of economic and social development" and proposed to reduce dependence on the dollar and create a common currency to be used in intraSouth American trade.