By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
Leaders from across the Americas closed a two-day summit Saturday by failing to restart long-stalled talks on a hemisphere-wide free trade accord, with thousands of protesters and five nations led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez fighting a successful battle against reviving high-level talks.
The 34-nation summit's declaration included two opposing views: one by 29 countries in favor of moving forward on the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA, and another by the five dissenting nations stating they weren't yet ready to create the world's largest trade bloc.
The decision came after hours of closed-door wrangling that delayed the summit's close for nearly eight hours. Almost all of the leaders, including US President George W. Bush, left during the discussions and put high-level negotiators in charge of resolving the prickly subject.