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23/09/2010
National forum of Defense 2010
23/09/2010

Statement by Minister Celso Amorim, at the Opening

Statement by Minister Celso Amorim, at the Opening of the General Debate of the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

It is a great honor for me to come to this podium to speak on behalf of the people and Government of Brazil.

 

I bring the greetings of President Lula. Within days, over 130 million Brazilians will go to the polls and will write another important chapter in the history of our democracy.

 

During President Lula´s two terms, Brazil has changed. Sustained economic growth, financial stability, social inclusion and the full exercise of democracy have converged and reinforced one another.

 

Over twenty million Brazilians rose out of poverty and many others out of extreme poverty. Nearly thirty million people joined the middle class.

 

Strong and transparent public policies reduced inequalities in income, access and opportunities. Millions of Brazilians rose to dignity and real citizenship.

 

The strengthened domestic market protected us from the worst effects of the global crisis set in motion by the financial casino in the richest countries in the world.

 

Brazil is proud to have achieved almost all of the Millennium Development Goals and to be well on the way to meeting them all by 2015.

 

The inability of any country to achieve these goals must be seen as a failure of the entire international community. The promotion of development is a collective responsibility.

 

Brazil has been working to assist other countries to replicate successful experiences.

 

In the past eight years, Brazil´s actions on the international stage have been driven by a sense of solidarity. We are convinced that it is possible to have a humanist foreign policy, without losing sight of the national interest.

 

This policy is supported by South-South cooperation. The Poverty Alleviation Fund, created by the IBSA forum, which brings together India, Brazil and South Africa, finances projects in Haiti, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Palestine, Cambodia, Burundi, Laos and Sierra Leone.

 

Brazil has substantially increased its humanitarian aid and multiplied cooperation projects with poorer countries.

 

Africa occupies a very special place in Brazilian diplomacy. Since taking office, President Lula has been to Africa eleven times and visited over twenty countries in the continent.

 

We have set up an agricultural research office in Ghana, a model cotton farm in Mali, a manufacturing plant for anti-retroviral drugs in Mozambique and professional training centers in five African countries.

 

Through trade and investment, we are helping the African continent to develop its enormous potential and reduce its dependency on a few centers of political and economic power.

 

Brazil is particularly concerned with Guinea Bissau. It is not by isolating that country or abandoning it that the international community will help Guinea Bissau to address the challenges it still faces.

 

We need intelligent modalities of cooperation, which can promote development and stability and encourage indispensable reforms, especially with regard to the Armed Forces.

 

This year, in which a significant number of African countries celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their decolonization, Brazil renews its commitment to an independent, prosperous, just and democratic Africa.

 

In few places international solidarity is more needed than in Haiti.

 

We joined the UN in mourning for the tragedy that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Haitians. We ourselves lost great Brazilians, such as Dr. Zilda Arns – a woman who dedicated her life to the poor, especially children – Mr. Luiz Carlos da Costa, Deputy Head of MINUSTAH, and eighteen of our peacekeepers.

 

We would like to express our compassion for the suffering of the Haitian people and, above all, our admiration for the stoicism and courage with which they have been facing adversity.

 

The Haitian people know that they can count on Brazil not only to help them maintain order and defend democracy, but also to assist in their development.

 

We are keeping our promises and will keep a watchful eye to ensure that the commitments of the international community go beyond rhetorical statements.

 

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General,

 

In recent years, the Brazilian Government has invested heavily in South America’s integration and peace. We have strengthened our strategic partnership with Argentina. We have reinforced Mercosul, including through unique financial mechanisms among developing countries.

 

The establishment of the Union of South American Nations – UNASUL – aims at consolidating a genuine zone of peace and prosperity. UNASUL has already demonstrated its value in promoting understanding and the peaceful resolution of conflicts among countries in South America and within them. UNASUL has made external interference in our region even more unwarranted.

 

By creating the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, launched in Bahia and confirmed in Cancun, we have reaffirmed the region´s willingness to extend to Central America and the Caribbean the integrationist ideals that move South Americans.

 

Brazil reiterates its condemnation, shared by all in Latin America and the Caribbean, of the illegitimate embargo against Cuba. Its sole result has been to hamper the efforts of millions of Cubans in their struggle for development.

 

We condemn anti-democratic moves, such as the coup d´état in Honduras. The return of former President Zelaya without threats to his freedom is indispensable for the full normalization of Honduras´ relations with the region as a whole.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

When President Lula first spoke in this Hall, in 2003, the world lived under the shadow of the invasion of Iraq.

 

We hope we learned the lessons from that episode. The blind faith in intelligence reports tailored to justify political goals must be rejected. We must ban once and for all the use of force inconsistent with international law. Even further: it is fundamental to value and promote dialogue and the peaceful resolution of disputes.

 

In order to achieve a truly secure world, the promise of total elimination of nuclear weapons must be fulfilled. Unilateral reductions are welcome but insufficient, especially when they occur in tandem with the modernization of nuclear arsenals.

 

As President Lula has often stated, multilateralism is the international face of democracy. The UN must be the main center of decision-making in international politics.

 

The changes that have occurred in the world over the last few decades and the series of crises we have faced in the areas of food security, climate change, the economic and financial domain and peace and security make it urgent to redefine the rules that organize international relations.

 

The financial crisis of 2008 accelerated change in global economic governance.

 

The G-20 replaced the G-8 as the primary forum for deliberation on economic issues.

 

The G-20 was a step forward. But the Group must be adjusted to ensure, for instance, greater African participation. The G-20’s relevance and legitimacy can only be preserved if it maintains frank and permanent dialogue with all the nations represented in this General Assembly.

 

At the height of the crisis, we succeeded in avoiding the worst-case scenario: a surge of uncontrolled protectionism, which would have thrown the world into a deep depression.

 

But the developed countries have not demonstrated the necessary commitment to global economic stability. They continue to let themselves be guided by parochial interests.

 

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Doha Round of negotiations in the WTO. A balanced solution to this negotiating process, which has lasted for almost ten years, would promote economic expansion and the development of the poorest countries, with the end of distorting subsidies and protectionist barriers.

 

After all, poor countries are the greatest victims of the narrow and selfish view that still prevails in international trade.

 

Reforms have also been insufficient in the financial sector. Unjustified resistances are keeping agreed-upon changes from being implemented.

 

Obstinacy in maintaining anachronistic privileges perpetuates and deepens the illegitimacy of institutions.

 

Another major challenge we face is achieving a global, comprehensive and ambitious agreement on climate change.

 

In order to move forward in this matter, countries must stop hiding behind each other. Brazil, like other developing countries, has done its part. But in Copenhagen, several delegations, especially from the rich world, sought excuses to elude their moral and political obligations. They forgot that, with Nature, one cannot negotiate.

 

A positive outcome of COP-16, with real progress in forests, financing for adaptation and mitigation and the reaffirmation of the Kyoto commitments, is indispensable. The Mexican presidency can count on Brazil’s engagement to achieve this objective.

 

In 2012, we will host in Rio de Janeiro the Rio+20 Conference. On behalf of the Brazilian Government, I invite all delegations to fulfill the promise of truly sustainable development.

 

Mr. President,

 

The reform of global governance has not yet reached the field of international peace and security. In the economic and environmental areas, the wealthiest nations have already understood that they cannot do without the cooperation of the emerging countries. When it comes to war and peace, however, the traditional players are reluctant to share power.

 

The Security Council must be reformed and expanded to allow for greater participation of developing countries, including as permanent members.

 

We cannot go on with working methods which lack transparency and which allow the permanent members to discuss behind closed doors issues that concern all mankind for as long as they wish.

 

Brazil has sought to live up to what is expected from all Security Council members, including non-permanent ones, i.e.: that they contribute to peace. For this reason, we made a serious effort to find an instrument that could represent progress towards a solution of the Iranian nuclear question.

 

In so doing, we relied on proposals that had been presented as a “unique opportunity” to build confidence between the parties. The Tehran Declaration of May 17th, signed by Brazil, Turkey and Iran, removed obstacles that, according to the very authors of those proposals, had previously prevented an agreement.

 

The Tehran Declaration does not exhaust the issue. It was never its intention to do so. We are convinced that, once back to the negotiating table, the parties will find ways to resolve other issues, such as enrichment to 20% and the stock of enriched uranium accumulated since October 2009.

 

In spite of the sanctions, we still hope that the logic of dialogue and understanding will prevail.

 

The world cannot run the risk of a new conflict like the one in Iraq. We have been insisting, therefore, that the Iranian Government maintain an attitude of flexibility and openness towards negotiations. But it is necessary that all those concerned demonstrate such willingness.

 

We are closely following developments in the peace process in the Middle East.

 

We hope the direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis launched earlier this month will produce concrete results that lead to the creation of a Palestinian State within the pre-1967 borders. A State that secures to the Palestinian people a dignified life, coexisting, side by side and in peace, with the State of Israel.

 

But it is not the format of the dialogue that will determine whether it will yield results. What matters is the willingness of the parties to reach a just and lasting peace. This will be easier with the involvement of all those concerned.

 

Freezing of construction in the settlements in the occupied territories, lifting the Gaza blockade and ending attacks against civilian populations are crucial in this process.

 

In his visit to Israel, Palestine and Jordan in March, President Lula spoke with Government leaders and representatives of civil society about these issues. We frequently receive in Brasilia leaders of different countries of the region, who seek support for the resolution of the problems which have afflicted them for decades and have not been solved by the traditional means and actors.

 

Brazil, which has about ten million Arab descendants and an important Jewish community living in harmony, will not shy from giving its contribution to the peace which all yearn for.

 

Mr. President,

 

Brazil’s commitment to the promotion of human rights is unwavering.

 

We favor a non-selective, objective and multilateral treatment of human rights, without politicization or bias, in which everyone – the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak – is subjected to the same scrutiny.

 

In our view, the exercise of human rights is more effectively ensured by dialogue and cooperation than by arrogant attitudes derived from self-declared moral superiority.

 

Mr. President,

 

Over his eight years in office, President Lula developed a foreign policy which is independent, free of any sort of submission and respectful of Brazil’s neighbors and partners.

 

It is an innovative foreign policy, which does not distance itself from the fundamental values of the Brazilian nation: peace, pluralism, tolerance and solidarity.

 

Just as Brazil has changed and will continue to change, the world is also changing. We must deepen and accelerate this process.

 

With the technology and wealth at our disposal, there is no more justification for hunger, poverty and epidemics of preventable diseases. We can no longer live with discrimination, injustice and authoritarianism. We must face the challenges of nuclear disarmament, sustainable development and freer and fairer trade.

 

You may rest assured: Brazil will go on fighting to make these ideals real.

 

Thank you.

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