In the dispute for positions of leadership on the international scene, president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva continues to
make it clear that he wants one of those positions. Monday, during his first day in the US for the opening of the United
Nations General Assembly, Lula spoke at a seminar on terrorism. The Brazilian President condemned attacks by terrorists, but
also criticized the US for arbitrary actions, such as the invasion of Iraq.
Lula had lunch with the UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan, and reiterated his support for UN reforms. He also met
with leaders of France and Spain, calling for the strengthening of Mercosur and expanded commercial ties that were more
equitable between Brazil and Europe.
"We are deeply concerned about international affairs. We are strongly committed to strengthening multilateral
organizations, making them more representative and legitimate," said Brazilian Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, adding that
in spite of the country's forceful positioning on issues, Brazil remains in favor of negotiations, not confrontation.
Brazilian foreign policy faces more challenges. Lula will be the first president to speak to the UN General
Assembly. He will be followed by George W. Bush.
The president of the US is expected to call for international assistance in Iraq in the form of more boots on the
ground. That position runs counter to what many leaders think is needed in Iraq. According to minister Amorim, Brazil will
refuse to send in troops. "Our position is that the Iraqi people need to have their independence returned first. That is the only
way to restore security."
Rebutting US criticism
In response to an article in the "Financial Times," on Monday, in which US Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick,
blamed Brazil for causing difficulties in the negotiations at the V Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization in
Cancun, Mexico, minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, rebutted the criticism.
Saying that it might be a good idea to try to find out who was to blame for the Cancun failure, Amorim pointed out
that Brazil joined other countries in demanding more liberalization of trade and an end to farm subsidies. The minister said
that the fact that Brazil was cited 5 times in the Zoellick article was a sign that Brazilian participation at the meeting had
That certainly seemed to be the case when Zoellick, speaking at the end of the meeting, praised Brazil and the G-20
for being pragmatic. Amorim said the article was a case of the American doing some backpedaling, after all both Brazil and
the US are supposed to be in favor of expanding free trade.
Amorim concluded by saying that Brazil remains committed to seeking a consensus on trade problems and
determined to move ahead with further negotiations at the WTO.
The material for this article was supplied by Agência Brasil (AB), the official press agency of the Brazilian
government. Comments are welcome at email@example.com