Bush Calls Brazil’s Lula in Africa. US Wants Progress in Doha Talks

Chiefs of state Singh, Mbeki, Lula in South Africa US President, George W. Bush, called his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Tuesday night, October 16, in Pretoria, South Africa, where Lula is visiting during a swing through Africa. Reason for the call? To discuss resumption of the stalled Doha round of talks. The two presidents chatted for about half an hour.

According to the Brazilian government, Bush praised Lula for being "very sharp on the subject" and asked the Brazilian chief of state to make headway in his position towards an end to barriers to free trade. Brazil has blamed the US for not being flexible en ought in the negotiations.

The Brazilian president during the phone conversation asked more candor and openness from the United States while discussing agriculture subsidies and promised that Brazil will try to be more flexible in relation to opening the Brazilian industrial market.

The final document of the Second Summit of Ibsa, the group that brings together India, Brazil and South Africa, presented today in Pretoria, defends the reform of the United Nations Security Council, but asks for priority for the return to negotiations of the Doha Rounds, which forecast the elimination of barriers to free trade.

In a press conference after presentation of the document, Lula stated that in this area there are no friends, but state interests, and they are, mostly, opposite.

"It is not a group of friends, it is State interests against State interests, and we seek a middle ground in which the poor countries win and the rich countries give way," stated the president.

Lula said he believes that an agreement may be closed at the World Trade Organization (WTO). "South Africa, Brazil and India believe that an agreement may be signed."

Regarding the reform of the UN Security Council, Lula pointed out that the current geopolitics is very different from that of 60 or 70 years ago. To him, the council needs to be reformulated so there may be no more episodes like the Gulf War, in 2003.

"Many countries have gained importance in their continents and should be represented in the council. This is so that what happened in Iraq may not happen again in the scope of the UN. If not, the UN loses its credibility and need for existence."

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