Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who starts his official visit to the US this Monday, will have a busy
four-day schedule in the United States while in New York for the opening of the 58th session of the UN General Assembly.
Tuesday, Lula will be making the opening speech to the meeting to be followed by US President George W. Bush, and presidents
Alexandre Toledo from Peru and Jacques Chirac from France.
In his 15-minute address, the Brazilian President will speak about the role of the United Nations in resolving
international disputes and conflicts. He will also emphasize the need for the richer nations to assist poorer countries in their fight
Lula, who arrived Sunday night at the JFK airport, will be participating in a conference about terror Monday
morning, before joining UN secretary general Kofi Annan for lunch. After lunch, the Brazilian President is expected to meet
French President Jacques Chirac.
While in New York, Lula, who will be staying at the posh Waldorf Astoria, will be four times with UN general
secretary Kofi Annan and he will also meet the leaders of Russia, France, Germany, Mozambique and Algeria. It's expected that
Lula will be received by President Bush, but such an encounter hasn't been scheduled yet.
The Brazilian leader will also be meeting several labor union and business leaders from the US. Lula should be
present at the opening of the Forum Brazil-India-South Africa, which will discuss strategies to increase economic and
cultural cooperation between the three countries.
Traveling with the president are ministers Guido Mantega (Planning), Dilma Rousseff (Mines and Energy), Luiz
Fernando Furlan (Foreign Commerce), Marco Aurélio Garcia (International Affairs), José Graziano (Food Safety), Humberto
Costa (Health), and Gilberto Gil (Culture). Presidential spokesman, André Singer and the president's general secretary, Luiz
Dulci, are also part of the retinue. Some of the aides will be holding meetings parallel to those of the President.
On Thursday, Lula, who is traveling without First Lady, Marisa, flies to Mexico where he will hold talks with
authorities there on economic integration among Latin American countries. The Brazilian President will end his trip with a visit to
Fidel Castro on the 26th. In Cuba, Lula is expected to sign several cooperation agreements with the Havana regime. This is
Lula's 18th foreign trip since he became president January
Homage to Mello
The United Nations General Assembly opened its 58th annual session on September 16 with a minute of silence in
memory of the 22 members of its staff killed in the terrorist attack in Baghdad. The Assembly's president, Julian Robert Hunte,
paid a special homage to Brazilian Sérgio Vieira de Mello, the top UN envoy in Iraq, and added, "I believe the United
Nations should remain focused on its objectives in Iraqto facilitate the restoration of peace and security, to ensure the delivery
of humanitarian assistance and the restoration of sovereignty to the people of Iraq. This would be the most fitting tribute to
the sacrifice and hard work of Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello and his colleagues."
Talking in Dubai, on Sunday, to the annual conference of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,
Brazilian Finance Minister, Antônio Palocci, accused the United States and other First World countries of maintaining
protectionist practices, which are seen by the poorer countries as "an intolerable hypocrisy."
Anticipating what Lula is expected to say at the UN, Palocci declared, "The international community needs to adopt
as priority the elimination of distorted subsidies." Such practices, according to the minister, "threaten the world system of
trade, especially in agriculture and other work intensive exports in which the developing countries conquered the hard way
"These practices are unfair to the industrialized countries consumers and contributors and are seen as an intolerable
hypocrisy by the poor citizens of the developing world, who, after having heard the preaching of the rich and having accepted the
need of making sacrifices to increase their productivity, see their gains hindered by protectionism."