Dilma Rousseff, who will be the new Brazilian president starting January 1st is vowing to attempt to strengthen Mercosur institutions and establish a protagonist dialogue with the United States, according to the presidential advisor on international affairs Marco Aurélio Garcia, who has been confirmed in his post.
Garcia who is meeting quite regularly with Rousseff said that the proximity of Brazil with Iran under the current administration of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva must not be interpreted as an “alliance.”
In a long interview in the latest edition of the Brazilian weekly magazine Isto É, Garcia, who has been Lula’s international affairs advisor since 2003, anticipated that Rousseff considers necessary to strengthen the Mercosur institutions to as to award the regional group greater action and decision capacities.
Although Garcia was not quoted directly on the issue but rather ‘sources’ close to the transition team, the president-elect favors the creation of a “high Mercosur authority” similar to the European Union institutional model.
The same sources indicate that Ms Rousseff believes Mercosur should have an executive, capable of giving the group more vigor and autonomy to make effective the resolutions approved at the presidential summits.
The incoming Brazilian president is expected to attend the summit in Foz de Iguazu next Friday together with president Lula.
Garcia also anticipated that the new Brazilian administration would like to have “a stronger protagonist dialogue with the United States.”
This confirms Ms Rousseff statement last week in an interview with The Washington Post when she criticized the Brazilian Foreign Affairs ministry for abstaining at the United Nations on the vote against stoning an Iranian citizen, a practice which she described as “medieval.”
Brazil’s relations with Washington have been affected by Lula’s decision to stand close to Iran and defend Teheran’s right to develop its own nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and furthermore criticized the military agreement between Colombia and the US by which US forces can make use of Colombian bases.
Garcia argued that the diplomatic distancing of Brasília with Washington was caused because the “US was distracted” from the Latin American region adding that standing next to Iran must not be understood as an alliance.
“Our proximity with Iran is not an alliance but a joint action to obtain an accord in the framework of the UN’s IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)”, underlined Garcia.
US ambassador in Brasilia Thomas Shannon praised Rousseff’s stance regarding the stoning of the Iranian woman and interpreted as a clear signal that “2011 could mark changes in Brazil’s foreign policy.”