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Brazzil - Foreign Policy - September 2003
 

Brazil's Lula: No More Mr. Humble Guy!

"We no longer accept participation in international politics as
if we were the wretches of Latin America, a no-account Third
World country, a worthless country that has homeless children,
a minor country where people only know how to play soccer
and dance samba. Brazil has much more than that."

AB

Brazil no longer wants to act like an "inferior"; it wants its foreign policy to be treated as an equal in its negotiations with developed countries. This affirmation was made by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in a speech to new members of the Brazilian diplomatic corps, whom he told that "there is no interlocutor on the face of the earth who respects another, if one of them hangs his head and acts like an inferior."

According to Lula, in its negotiations Brazil respects countries very different in size and economy, such as Paraguay and the United States, and demands as well to be treated "on equal footing." In Lula's opinion, the "inferior" treatment the country sometimes receives in the international arena results from Brazil's own frequent lack of self-regard.

The President availed himself of the opportunity provided by Thursday's ceremony at the Itamaraty Palace (Foreign Relations Ministry) to send a clear message to the wealthy countries. "We no longer accept participation in international politics as if we were the wretches of Latin America, a no-account Third World country, a worthless country that has homeless children, a minor country where people only know how to play soccer and dance samba at Carnaval time. This country has much more than that," he emphasized.

Lula referred to the example of the meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) last week in Cancún, Mexico. In his opinion, the "firm and objective" stance that the country maintained at the meeting demonstrates that Brazil "possesses an articulatory capacity that is perhaps unique, allowing us to defend our interests and parlay forces with clarity and direction, without confrontations." Even in the face of pressures from the developed countries, Brazil was emphatic in insisting on an end to the agricultural barriers imposed on the country.

The President congratulated the recent graduates of the Rio Branco Institute for having chosen the Brazilian diplomat, Sérgio Vieira de Mello, killed in the attack on the UN office in Iraq, as the class patron. According to the President, Vieira de Mello knew how to unite the force of reason with commitment on behalf of the most vulnerable.

Lula left a message with the new diplomats: More will be expected of them, because Brazil's position, nowadays, has grown in the eyes of the rest of the world. "After what occurred in Cancún, you will note that you will be watched with much greater interest, but, at the same time, with much greater expectation than up to now, by our interlocutors from other countries."

In Lula's opinion, the new diplomats should model themselves after Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, whenever they have doubts about the career they chose. The President used the graduation exercises to make a toast to the "competence" that Celso Amorim has demonstrated at the head of the Ministry of Foreign Relations.

Amorim, declined to comment on remarks made by United States deputy secretary of State, Roger Noriega, to the effect that Brazil was responsible for the failure of the V Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization in Cancun, Mexico, last week. Pointing out that Noriega is a low-ranking official, Amorim said he would have talks with Secretary of State Colin Powell next week at the United Nations. The meeting with Powell is a scheduled part of the trip to the US by president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for the opening of the UN General Assembly. Amorim said that he and Powell would discuss "everything that needs to be discussed."

In testimony at the Senate Foreign Relations Commission, Amorim declared that Brazil is preparing for the World Trade Organization meeting in November in Geneva and that the lack of concrete results in Cancun did not mean the end of the WTO as a forum for negotiations. The minister said that as far as Brazil was concerned, the WTO remains a fundamental element in the negotiating process for developing nations. "Even with all the difficulties, it is better to have the WTO present," said he.

Amorim told the commission that negotiations were underway with India and South Africa, and would soon begin with China, on trade agreements with those nations and Mercosur.

 

The material for this article was supplied by Agência Brasil (AB), the official press agency of the Brazilian government. Comments are welcome at lucas@radiobras.gov.br

 









 
 
 







 



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