Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, called on July 3 for a
series of joint actions between developing countries, particularly
Brazil and African nations, to address several issues pertaining to the
international scenario, such as the resumption of the Doha Round for
the liberalization of global trade, the reform of international
financial institutions, and climate change.
"We must forge our sovereign insertion into the world," said the president to an audience crowded with African leaders in Sirte, Libya. He underscored that developing nations have become a "key element" for solving the international financial crisis.
To him, there will not be a new cycle of economic expansion without the developing nations. Lula called once again for greater participation in institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. "We are counting on Africa to redefine the governance of multilateral institutions," he declared.
Along the same lines, Lula once again criticized trade protectionism and domestic subsidies granted by developed countries. "Within the framework of the (Doha) Round, Brazil is going to grant access to its market, free from tariffs and quotas, to products originated in relatively less developed countries," he ensured.
Lula added, however, that the president of the United States, Barack Obama, has already signalled that his government intends to resume the Doha negotiation process, and that "progress" may occur.
In a press conference, the president said that the G-8, a group of the world's seven largest economies, plus Russia, "will remain meaningless," in an allusion to the lack of representativeness of those countries in making decisions that affect the whole world. He stated that the G-20, which includes the 20 most industrialised economies, including Brazil, is more representative.
"South-South cooperation is a defense and, at the same time, an attack on the asymmetries," he declared. Nevertheless, Lula will attend a G-8 meeting as a guest next week, as will the Libyan leader, Muammar Gadafi, who currently presides over the African Union.
Lula also spoke once again in favour of the UN Security Council reform, with greater participation of emerging nations, including African ones. Brazil is claiming a permanent seat at the council. In the environmental field, Lula stated that wealthy countries must assume their responsibilities in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
At the end of his address at the African Union (AU) assembly, Lula requested for the leaders of the continent to include, in the final declaration of the summit, a statement condemning the coup that overthrew the president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, early this week, and demanding that he be restored to power.
The Brazilian foreign minister Celso Amorim, who also traveled to Libya, said that the Organization of American States (OAS) has passed a resolution requesting that Zelaya be put back in power within 72 hours, or else the country will be expelled from the organization.
The audience applauded the initiative, and also hailed the president's request for support to the city of Rio de Janeiro to be chosen to host the 2016 Olympics. Africa, according to him, has 16 votes in the International Olympic Committee.
"There is a possibility that the vast majority will support Brazil," Lula said to the journalists soon before leaving Sirte to return to the Brazilian capital, Brasília. "The Arabs are prone to voting for Brazil," he added.
Besides Gadafi and the Qatari emir, Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Tani, the opening of the AU summit was attended by other Arab heads of state, such as the presidents of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and of Sudan, Omar Al-Bashir.
Prior to the opening, Gadafi welcomed the heads of state and other leaders, such as the "traditional kings," or African tribal leaders. He was wearing a golden tunic and hat.
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