We do support Brazil. We feel strongly that poverty and hunger are two enemies of the world. So we fully supported the goals that President Lula has. We have a disagreement with Brazil, and with some other countries, as to how best to accomplish this program. Should we tax international trade? We don’t think these particular ideas are workable.
US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s Interview with Cláudia Bomtempo of Brazil’s TV Globo
QUESTION: Hello, Mr. Secretary. Nice to meet you. Thank you so much for this interview. We could say we are very surprised that you could find the time to visit Brazil during this presidential campaign. What brings you here that is so important?
SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, I’ve been looking forward to visiting Brazil for a long time. Brazil is an important partner and an important neighbor. It is a significant friend of the United States. We have so much in common ”“ democracy ”“ two great democracies in this hemisphere.
And I have been wanting to come to Brazil for a long time. So finally when I found a little bit of room in my calendar, I decided this is the time to go to Brazil and meet with President Lula and Foreign Minister Amorim.
QUESTION: Yes, you mentioned President Lula. How do you perceive his Brazilian leadership among the Latin American countries?
SECRETARY POWELL: Brazil is a leader in this hemisphere, there is no question about it. I think it’s played a leadership role in trade and economic issues.
It’s played a leadership role into pointing out to the rest of the hemisphere, and to the world, the responsibility we all have to deal with hunger and poverty in our societies. It’s an example of a firm democracy. As one of the members of the community of democracies here in our hemisphere.
It’s playing a leadership role also with respect to leading the Friends of Venezuela, as we’ve helped Venezuelans come through their recent trying times.
And I am especially appreciative of the leadership role that Brazil is now playing in Haiti, by being willing to take on the leadership of the military organization that is helping the United Nations and the Haitian people to a better life.
QUESTION: I see. But why then President Bush didn’t support Brazil on this international campaign against poverty?
SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, we do support Brazil. We feel strongly that poverty and hunger are two enemies of the world.
And the United States gives more toward hunger relief efforts around the world and to development around the world than any nation in the world.
So we fully supported the goals that President Lula has, and that he articulated at the UN last week during the time of the General Assembly.
We have a disagreement with Brazil, and with some other countries, as to how best to accomplish this program. Should we tax international trade? There are other ideas about borrowing money now and securitizing that money and paying it back later.
We don’t think these particular ideas are workable. But we will continue to fund poverty programs and fund programs that alleviate hunger to the best of our ability.
The United States has increased its development assistance to the world by over a hundred percent in the last four years of this administration.
And in addition to that we are participating in a new program, starting a new program called Millennium Challenge Account, which will give billions of dollars more to nations that are in need.
And so we have complete agreement with President Lula on the goals of alleviating hunger and poverty, although we may have disagreements on some of the funding mechanisms.
QUESTION: I see. Will the U.S. finally support Brazil on this campaign for a permanent seat at the U.N. Security Council?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the United States is waiting to get the results, see the results of the expert panel of the eminent individuals that Kofi Annan has put together to study the question of the enlargement of the Security Council and other reforms within the United Nations system.
And we think that if the Security Council is going to be enlarged then certainly Brazil, by virtue of its leadership role, by virtue of the nature of its political system, and its size and its importance in this part of the world, would certainly be a leading candidate to be a member of the Security Council.
But we think it is best to wait and get the report of this panel before specifically choosing countries.
QUESTION: I would like to talk about the Haiti troops again. The Brazilian government expects to increase the number of military soldiers and it counts on the U.S. to help bring all the countries to also send troops there. What are the plans?
SECRETARY POWELL: There are plans to significantly increase the size of the force there – these are U.N. troops. And I spoke to Secretary-General Kofi Annan to encourage him to do everything to speed up the arrival of the additional troops. The countries have been identified, and more troops are on the way.
We are pleased that Brazil went in quickly with a number of other friends in this part of the world, standing alongside the Brazilians. The United States is providing a great deal of financial support, and I expect that the peacekeeping force will grow rapidly over the next month.
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, is there any doubt about the peaceful intentions of the Brazilian uranium enrichment program?
SECRETARY POWELL: Not at all, not in my mind. The United States understands that Brazil has no interest in a nuclear weapon, no desire and no plans, no programs, no intention of moving toward a nuclear weapon. They have a nuclear power program; we understand that. They want to have their own fuel cycle; we understand that as well.
This is an issue between Brazil and the International Atomic Energy Agency that has certain responsibilities to monitor compliance with agreements that countries have entered into.
And I am confident that when the International Atomic Energy inspectors come again to discuss the matter with the Brazilian authorities, they’ll find a way to resolve their outstanding issues.
The IAEA has a great deal of experience in working its way through this, through these kinds of problems, and I don’t think the IAEA or the United States or anyone else wants to see Brazil give away any of its proprietary knowledge that it believes it should hold close.
But at the same time, as a member of all these international organizations and protocols, we believe that Brazil will want to do everything it can to satisfy the IAEA that it is meeting, that Brazil is meeting all of its obligations.
We also hope that in due course Brazil will see the wisdom of signing on to the Additional Protocol. Brazil is part of the consensus that created the Additional Protocol, and now we hope that Brazil will see a way clear to adopt the Additional Protocol.
QUESTION: The war against Iraq was the main issue during the first debate in America. And how do you perceive the criticism coming from all over the world that the situation in Iraq is a little bit out of control?
SECRETARY POWELL: It is not out of control, but it is certainly dangerous. There are insurgents. There are terrorists. There are people in Iraq who are setting off bombs every day, who are murdering innocent people, who are murdering children trying to go to school, who are murdering Iraqis who are lining up to join the army or to join the police force in order to protect their country.
What we have to do is fight against these insurgents, fight against these terrorists. Because what the Iraqi people want, and we all want, is peace, security, freedom. And they want an opportunity to vote.
They want to vote for their own leaders in January of 2005. And we are determined, President Bush is determined, to give them every opportunity to do that.
And we’re working with our coalition partners. We’re working with the United Nations. But above all, we’re working with the new government of Iraq, courageous men and women who every day stand up and go out and put themselves at risk in order to bring freedom and democracy to their country. They are deserving of our support.
QUESTION: And the last question is: I would like to know if President Bush wins the election, will he reconsider his opinion on ratifying the Kyoto Protocol? After Russia now.
SECRETARY POWELL: No, but the Kyoto Protocol has nothing to do with our politics. When we examined it, at the beginning of this administration, we recognized that the problem of global warming is real.
We know we all have to do more about the emissions that are going into the air. And we are as committed to that as anyone. But the Kyoto Protocol, because of the way in which it was structured and the impact it would have had on our economy, and we just didn’t believe that was something that we could sign up to.
SECRETARY POWELL: We think there are better ways to deal with the problem of global warming. And the President has put a lot of money and the Congress has put a lot of money into scientific research and technological innovation, making our cars cleaner, making our power plants cleaner in order to reduce emissions that are responsible for global warming.
We don’t deny the science of it. And we don’t deny that we all have to do something to bring these emissions under control. It was our judgment however that the Kyoto was not the way to go about it, and it certainly would have affected our economy in a very, very negative way.
QUESTION: Thank you so much for this interview, and I would like to know what are your plans if President Bush continues in power?
SECRETARY POWELL: Ah, now you are acting like an American reporter. [Laughter]
QUESTION: Just your plans ”“ do you have any plans already? Is it early to say?
SECRETARY POWELL: We have an expression in our government that says, for Cabinet officers like me, ‘I serve at the pleasure of the President”, and in due course the President and I will sit down and determine what our mutual pleasures are.
QUESTION: The answer is also a little bit like that in Brazil too. [Laughter] Thank you so much.