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over unilateralism

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Latin America and Europe capped a summit with a condemnation of Iraqi prisoner abuse and calls for support for the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto Protocol -- indirect criticisms of the United States that never mentioned the country by name.

That omission was apparently a nod to Washington from the leaders of 58 nations meeting Friday at the third summit between the European Union and Latin America. It rankled some leaders of developing nations, particularly Cuba, the only delegation to withhold its approval of the final declaration.

President Vicente Fox of Mexico wrapped up the one-day summit exhorting his counterparts from across the ocean and next door to "ensure that we arrive at the next summit with good news." The fourth summit is to take place in Vienna in 2006.

Yesterday, EU officials met with several Latin American nations, including Mexico, Central America, and several Andean nations, in a series of one-on-one meetings. Most heads of state from Europe returned home Friday.

Both sides said they had made headway in the drive to pursue their common goals, including a call to strengthen the United Nations so that it could become a true arbiter of world conflicts, while discouraging unilateral action by countries anywhere.

"Our common challenge is to ensure that the multilateral approach isn't just the right way, but the effective way," Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of Ireland told reporters after the summit.

The final declaration signed by summit leaders expressed their commitment "to cooperating in the United Nations on the prevention of conflicts, peaceful resolution of disputes, crisis management, peacekeeping, and post-conflict peace-building operations," an indirect reference to the US decision to go to war in Iraq without UN backing.

The 104-point document also expresses "abhorrence at recent evidence of the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraqi prisons," and urges all those who have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and the International Criminal Court to do so. The United States has opposed both.

The document never criticizes the United States directly but appears to recognize Washington when it acknowledges "the commitment by the relevant governments to bring to justice any individuals responsible" for inhumane treatment of prisoners of war.

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