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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations Luiz Felipe Lampreia

Joint Press Availability, Itamaraty Palace, Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations
Brasilia, Brazil, August 15, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
Blue Line

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMPREIA: (in Portuguese) Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. This morning we had an important discussion with the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. The President saw her for about 45 minutes. During that meeting we discussed our bilateral relations between the U.S. and Brazil. We have again reaffirmed the good dialogue that we have between us and the good relations in general.

We have also touched upon other topics, particularly topics and events that are taking place in our region. More specifically, events that are of concern to us, the Colombian situation and other situations in the region. We have also talked about reform of the United Nations. We have talked about the issue of contributions to the UN. The Secretary of State has firm ideas about the quota system of the UN, and therefore this is basically what we have spoken about with the President.

Here in Itamaraty, the Foreign Ministry has already discussed in greater depth some of the issues that have been talked about with the President. We have also spoken about other issues: trade, negotiations leading to the FTAA; I mentioned to the Secretary the Brazilian concern about mandatory licenses or patents for some medicines that have public interest. And we are here, of course, to answer the questions that you may want to ask us on any subject in which you are interested.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good afternoon, I am very happy to be here in Brasilia where I have had a very productive meeting with President Cardoso and a thorough discussion of issues of mutual concern with my very good friend Foreign Minister Lampreia. These include the need to ensure that the democratic tide continues to rise in the Western Hemisphere, and over the past two decades democracy has made enormous gains. But in some areas of the region, it is currently experiencing considerable stress.

We very much applaud the initiative of the government of Brazil to bring together the South American countries. The Foreign Minister and I discussed the various situations in the region with an eye on how we can best support the democratic process. For example, we talked about the importance of backing Colombian President Pastrana's plan to combat drug trafficking and restore the economic health of his country, and we reviewed efforts being made through the Organization of American States to encourage democratic reform in Peru.

We also talked about trade and the prospects for achieving a Free Trade Area of the Americas by the year 2005. And as I told the Foreign Minister, this goal enjoys considerable bipartisan support in the United States and we continue to work closely with Brazil to make it a reality.

We also touched upon several other issues including the need to make the United Nations as effective as possible in 21st century. It has been said that U.S.-Brazil relations are better now than at any time since World War II, and I agree, and I am grateful that we don't need a global crisis to bring us together. Certainly we still have differences, but these are far fewer than the areas of agreement. And every time that we meet, the Foreign Minister and I make headway toward an even greater symmetry of our views.

Once again, let me say how very happy I am to be here in Brazil. There could be no better place to begin my visit to South America than here and no better partner with whom to review regional events than Foreign Minister Lampreia. Thank you.

QUESTION: (in Portuguese) Ms. Albright, in your discussions with both the President and the Foreign Minister, what is the Brazilian position that you talked about? What would be the attitude or the position that Brazil should take in this area? Is what Brazil does sufficient or do you want to coordinate actions?

And now for the Minister: has Brazil demonstrated interest in participating in any joint plans with the U.S. and Colombia or Ecuador or any of these countries that have been mentioned?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, let's say that these were general discussions. As I said in my opening remarks, there is a symmetry of views that is very important between two such partners as the United States and Brazil. I very much appreciated the insights that President Cardoso and Foreign Minister Lampreia provided this morning in terms of discussions of regional issues such as Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. I think that the knowledge and the closeness that Brazil has with those countries -- and therefore their insight -- is very important to us, and so I would say that it's a very satisfactory relationship and one that I treasure.

I talk with Foreign Minister Lampreia on the phone with some frequency, and we share views not only about this region but about other regions. I provided for him a readout of our meetings at Camp David, and generally we talked about all issues, and I consider it very satisfactory.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMPREIA: (in Portuguese) I think it's important to explain and maybe to preface how I'm going to respond. It's important to explain that Brazil and the U.S. share very important values -- defense, protection of democracy, defense of freedom, market economy, the environment, and the defense of human rights. That, of course, means that our views coincide many times, and that, in turn, translates into taking the same position vis-à-vis certain countries. These things all bring us together, unite us in a common position. However, it is also very important to explain that both Brazil and the U.S. also should have their own independent, autonomous position because that is their national interest and their convictions. And there shouldn't be between our two countries any relation that is different from autonomous independent decisions that may converge -- or not -- depending on the situation.

Now, your question about plans or possible common action programs: No, I would say that we do not have the same degree of commitment with the drug trafficking program of President Pastrana or his peace plan. But, that being said, we've told President Pastrana that we will review with interest, and, of course, within our possibilities, we will try to answer positively to any request from Colombia to try to help their development and their peace process, but we have no intention of participating in any common or consorted international action in the country.

Another important case is Peru. Regarding the Peruvian issue, we have had different -- slightly different views -- I would say, but today I think that Brazil and the U.S. are both committed to carry out the mission that has been defined in Windsor by the [meeting of the] foreign ministers, who told the OAS and Secretary General Gaviria what steps ought to be taken to deepen the democratic process in Peru. I think that in that area our views are the same or coincide. In other words we will not participate in any specific programs or plans but very often our views coincide and our actions converge with those of the U.S. in order to promote our shared values.

QUESTION: Ms. Albright, you said you wanted to get a clearer idea of what the Brazilians intended to do at the South American summit next month. Can you tell us how you now feel about the summit? And Mr. Minister, could you tell us whether you were able to reassure the United States that this summit was not in some sense meant to sideline them in policymaking?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, let me say that we were not afraid of that in the first place. I think it is very important when a country of Brazil's stature is able to call together its South American friends, and we talked about the commonality of views. I think the Foreign Minister already pointed out the issues that we want to deal with commonly, and that is the whole status of democracy, and its prosperity in Latin America, and the advantage of having them talk about these issues in common. So I feel that this is an important gathering of South America leaders, and we support it.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMPREIA: (in Portuguese) Well, I think that in March I was in Washington and I had the first discussion with the Secretary about this. At that point I explained to her the Brazilian conception of this summit. I think that was the first time that Secretary Albright learned about this idea of the summit, because it was a new idea then. And I think that the U.S. government clearly understood at that time, or since that time, that this initiative's goal was to add up resources and possibilities and potentials and desires and wishes of the peoples of South America, not in opposition to anything, not to exclude anybody or anything else, or to negate anything. No, au contraire, to really reinforce possibilities, to improve the opportunities that can be created.

Therefore I think that there has been no doubt in the mind of the U.S. Government, ever. And we would have never had any questions or doubts either, thinking that the State Department or the U.S. Government could have had a negative reaction to this meeting, which is a constructive meeting, whose goal is to make us more capable to really arrive at common goals and solve common problems.

QUESTION: It seems that one of the main themes of the presidents' summit at the end of this month in Brasilia is a certain desire of Brazil maybe to expand Mercosul and to merge, possibly, with the Andean Pact to form one single South American trade zone. Do you think this gets in the way, somehow, with the creation of the FTAA, and could you be more specific about your comments on democracy in the case of Peru? Do you consider the Peruvian government as democratically elected, or will you treat it differently from other South American countries?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say this on the question about these issues. First of all, as I said, we would all like to work towards a free trade agreement by the year 2005. But we have never felt that Mercosul or the Andean Group was in any way detrimental to the creation of a larger free trade area. These are building blocks. This is how the free trade systems have been operating. Where we have put together various aspects of a free trade agreement, NAFTA for instance, other areas. And we see these as building blocks. So, again, there is no way that we see that as undermining, or competitive, or any term that you might use. It is a building block, and useful.

On the issue of Peru, we obviously have been very concerned about the method of election of President Fujimori, and we're very much in favor of the actions that were taken in Windsor by the OAS General Assembly. I met with Foreign Minister Axworthy, as well as Foreign Secretary Rosario Green in Santa Fe two days ago. At that stage Foreign Minister Axworthy told me in some detail about the mission that he and Secretary General Gaviria had headed to go to Lima. They had laid out a series of steps that needed to be taken. The OAS will have a representative -- I guess it's the best term for it -- in Lima to make sure that the various reforms that were suggested by the OAS General Assembly with our participation would be carried out. And I think it's very important that that roadmap be followed, if President Fujimori wants to have the respectability and credibility within the international community. And it means getting a judicial system that functions, intelligence services that are properly integrated, a military that is under civilian control, a whole host of reform ideas. Foreign Minister Lampreia and I discussed this. We are on the same wavelength on this as we are on practically every issue that we talked about.

[End of Document]
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