Brazilian Foreign minister Celso Amorim defended on Wednesday the Brazilian position to not pressure Iran with sanctions, after meeting with the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in the Itamaraty Palace in Brazilian capital Brasília.
“I think each country, just as the case for each individual in life, has to think with his or her own head, and we do think with our own head,” said the Brazilian minister, adding: “We are concerned about the nuclear issue in Iran. It is a source of concern. The question, of course, is determining or identifying the best way to get from here to where we have to get to.”
What follows is the transcript of the press conference given by Clinton and Amorim after their meeting:
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Good afternoon. We’ll start now the press interview with Foreign Minister Amorim and the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both ministers will say a few words to begin, and then we will go to questions from the press.
FOREIGN MINISTER AMORIM: (Via interpreter) First of all, I’d like to once again convey my words of welcome, my earnest words of welcome, to the U.S. State – or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which she has by now been able to successfully test her approval rating in Brazil, given the vast crowd of photographers and media professionals everywhere she’s been, including this ministry so far. But it is indeed a great pleasure to have you here as Secretary. Obviously, the U.S. Secretary of State is always a high-profile figure. But I think it is also fair to say that Hillary Clinton is, in her own right, a largely admired person, one who has elicited a lot of attention and respect from many people, including, of course, those of us in Brazil.
We have thus far sustained very important talks. We have also entered into three agreements, one focusing on cooperation regarding discrimination or different forms of discrimination and violence, particularly against women and young girls.
We have also signed an agreement on fostering a strategic dialogue on climate matters, an area that both President Lula and President Obama have devoted a lot of efforts and time while in the recent Copenhagen conference.
We have also signed a third agreement on trilateral cooperation. I was going to say something else, but I was going to the actual case. But of course, trilateral cooperation will encompass Haiti, Africa, and other related situations, or say, countries in Central America.
By the way, we also talked about Central America in great detail and quite extensively. We also, of course, referred to some of the existing agreements between us, both trade agreements and other agreements that may evolve and mature at a bilateral level, and also a very important agreement that we have in place which can be further deepened that regards efforts to promote racial equality. That is certainly an area where we all can draw lessons, mutual lessons, from our nations’ experiences. Brazil has always been proud of being a racial equality but has perhaps neglected and turned a blind eye to some of the key (inaudible) have otherwise taken. The U.S. has perhaps suffered a little bit more and has therefore moved to put measures in place before Brazil. So the door is also open and always open for us to exchange views on racial equality, issues which I know are very dear to the Secretary of State herself.
We also had a broad-ranging discussion on bilateral and global – multilateral and global issues, to include the Middle East, including Iran in that chapter. We also touched on issues pertaining to climate. We also, of course, focused on the relevant strategies to be pursued. We, of course, talked about regional issues, mainly Haiti, which – Haiti and Chile, of course, more recently, but of course, we did refer to Haiti because Haiti is the country in greatest need at this point in time, a country that has involved active involvements on the part of both of our nations.
But of course, we also referred to matters of a more global scope, matters that are, say, more global in nature. I even told the Secretary of State that I would not risk my credibility with her by insisting on the importance of successfully completing the Doha round of negotiations, but I did at least, in passing, refer to the Doha round.
So, roughly speaking, in very broad strokes, that’s what we covered We had very candid discussions, very truth-based discussions, if you will, mutually so, and I feel very rewarded with the discussions and talks. Of course, the Secretary of State will now visit the president in the next few minutes, President Lula da Silva, so we need to, of course, abide by the time that has been allotted to our Q&A and interview. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Foreign Minister. It is – thank you. Is that on? Good. It is a pleasure, once again, to be here in Brasilia and to have the opportunity to meet with you and to sign these important agreements. As the foreign minister said, we covered a lot of ground today. We, of course, reviewed the relief effort in Chile and the importance of the countries of the Americas coming together in times of crisis. President Lula went to Chile. I went yesterday. We will work together to help Chile recover.
We also very much appreciate Brazil’s leadership efforts in Haiti. Brazilian troops continue to play the lead in MINUSTAH, providing security and stability. Brazilian doctors continue to save lives. And Brazil is one of the keys to the international community in going forward with the kind of commitment to Haiti that will last and produce tangible results for the Haitian people.
I also appreciate the very strong relationship that Brazil and the United States have had over the years, and the fact that we are even broadening and strengthening that today. Our governments do not agree on every issue. I don’t know of any two governments who agree on every issue. But we share core values – a passionate commitment to democracy and freedom. We share a sense of social responsibility, a belief that we are both better when others are given the chance to develop themselves.
And both the United States and Brazil are committed to the core goal of nonproliferation. And the foreign minister and I discussed our mutual commitment to ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. And the United States looks forward to continuing that conversation with Brazil in the weeks ahead.
The foreign minister and I also discussed the situation in Honduras and the progress being made there to restore constitutional democracy. The United States is committed to supporting Honduras on its path to reintegration within the inter-American community. And we want to work with Brazil and others to strengthen the OAS so that it can more effectively advance our shared democratic values, respond when democratic order is subverted or other challenges arise, and help to prevent political crises from erupting in the first place.
Now, given the range of challenges before us, the United States and Brazil are launching a global partnership dialogue between our foreign ministries to deepen that cooperation. The agreements we signed today are part of that expanded engagement. The MOU on climate change will strengthen our cooperation in key areas, including building on the Copenhagen accord, which our two nations helped to craft last December; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; redoubling our commitment to our bilateral partnership in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other climate and energy issues. And we very much admire all that Brazil has achieved in this area and look to work cooperatively together on behalf of other countries as well.
The memorandum on trilateral development will enhance our efforts to widen the circle of prosperity, increase social and economic inclusion, improve healthcare, and give people the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty in those countries in greatest need here in our own hemisphere.
But we also are paying attention to Africa. It is a concern that both Brazil and the United States share, and we will work together. Brazil is a natural partner of ours in addressing food security, having implemented a highly successful and comprehensive program that has significantly reduced malnutrition in this country. It should be our goal that every child born in the Americas, or anywhere in the world, for that matter, has the opportunity to live up to his or her full God-given potential.
Now, this goal would be impossible, however, if half the population is left behind. So our memorandum of understanding on women and girls will spur greater cooperation on eliminating violence against women, combating the trafficking of women and children, increasing the participation of women in decision making, improving equality and equal pay in the workplace, and creating new opportunities for women everywhere. This is not only the right thing to do, but Brazil and the United States agree it is the smart thing to do. Investing in the potential of women and girls is one of the surest ways to achieve economic progress, political stability, and greater prosperity.
Both of our countries have struggled at times to live up to our own ideals of equality, tolerance, and inclusion. But I think both the American citizens of the United States and the Brazilian citizens of the Americas can be proud of what we have accomplished. Our commitments to pluralism and democracy make us more competitive on the world stage. Brazil and the United States look much more like the rest of the world than many other countries do. That is a great, great strength.
Later today, I will be visiting an Afro Brazilian university in Sao Paulo, the very first one, I am told, and meeting with some of Brazil’s brightest young people. The partnerships we create together will make sure that Brazil and the United States continue on a path toward greater equality, achieving the goals that we have set for ourselves.
So again, let me thank the foreign minister for his hospitality and his efforts to promote cooperation between our nations, and I look forward to continuing to work with him.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) The first question, Eduardo Davis, Agencia EFE.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Madam Secretary, a question for you. Good afternoon. Madam Secretary, you said that you talked about Honduras with the minister. In this case, at the congress this morning, you said that it was important that this country be readmitted at the OAS. And what does Minister Amorim thinks is missing before Brazil normalizes relations with Honduras and support the reintegration of Honduras in – to the OAS? What’s the position of Brazil?
And Secretary Clinton, this past Monday in Spain, a judge opened a case where he says there are evidence that the Venezuelan Government cooperated in some cases with FARC and with ETA to attack Colombian personalities in Spain. President Chavez, of course, rejected all those accusations, said they’re lies, and he says that the U.S. hand was behind all those accusations. How do you react and how do you (inaudible) these accusations, and could you give more information about this and do you have any additional comments about this allegation that the hand of the United States was behind all those accusations against Venezuela?
FOREIGN MINISTER AMORIM: I don’t know for whom the question is. But anyway, I think it’s for you. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Both of them? (Laughter.) Do you want me to answer?
FOREIGN MINISTER AMORIM: (Via interpreter) So maybe I could say something before the Secretary has the floor, because that will give her time to think about your – quite a few questions.
Anyway, as regards to Honduras, our stances are well known. We exchanged views on that issue today earlier and I had the occasion of telling Madam Secretary that, of course, Brazil wishes to witness a future of normality throughout the region, and likewise we wish a future that will prove beneficial to all countries of the region as a whole.
However, countries that have undergone, say, the trauma of living under a military dictatorship following a coup d’état – for example, my own generation, Brazil was deprived of voting rights. For 21 years on end we were not able to vote for the presidency. So you can’t take these things that widely. You have to bring that into perspective. So we have followed with great attention the gestures of, if you will, or the actions taken by the incumbent president of Honduras. He has made moves to the effect of fostering greater national reconciliation efforts, to include, of course, members of what you might describe as the opposition in Honduras, who are more, say, supportive of Zelaya. You might call them “left-wing supporters,” between quotations marks, under his administration, as is the case today.
We also, of course, appreciate the efforts he has tried to undertake as regards amnesty. And even his initiative to visit Brazil’s first initiative, something that was very much called into question by the Brazilian media, but he did visit the Brazilian Embassy and followed, of course, with the key people all the way out to the airport. We, of course, very much appreciate the fact that the chief of staff himself was directly involved on a firsthand basis in the kidnapping or abduction of President Zelaya. So all of these, of course, are positive developments and we, of course, have kept an eye open and have sustained contacts in the region.
But it’s the kind of thing that cannot be easily absorbed. I mean, the type of a military coup d’état happened and it struck a legitimately elected president who was very much in the middle of an otherwise successful term in office. So we need to, of course, work on the basis of two things, two variables: facts on the one hand, and time on the other hand. It can’t be just time, because, of course, some events may speed up the lapse of time, and that is why I do not wish to indicate any deadline, because very often you may find yourself without any relevant events, therefore time itself is not enough.
And that’s what we’ve talked about so far. We, of course, are very appreciative of the positive efforts made in Honduras and also the positive efforts made by the U.S. I understand the White House will soon receive President Funes from El Salvador. He is very directly related to Brazil and I understand that Madam Secretary will be visiting Guatemala in the next few days. So we’re quite interested in monitoring events as they evolve. Of course, there’s a very emblematic event, which would be, of course, creating the conditions and fostering the wherewithal for Zelaya, if he so wishes to go back to his country, it’s not the only event – it’s not the only condition, but it would be symbolically very important in that sense. It would prove very instrumental.
SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to your question about Venezuela, I am not familiar with any of the allegations being made in Spain. I am familiar with the constant allegations being made by the Venezuelan Government with respect to our own government, and I can only reiterate what we have said many times: We are not involved in any activities intended to harm any Venezuelan. We are deeply concerned about the behavior of the Venezuelan Government, which we think is unproductive with respect to its relations with certain neighbors, which we believe is limiting, slowly but surely, the freedoms within Venezuela, therefore adversely impacting the Venezuelan people. And we would hope that there could be a new start on the part of the Venezuelan leadership to restore full democracy, to restore freedom of the press, to restore private property and return to a free market economy. We wish Venezuela were looking more to its south and looking at Brazil and looking at Chile and other models of a successful country. And we think that would be in the best interests of primarily the Venezuelans themselves, but certainly all of their neighbors.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Second question, Matt Lee, Associated Press
QUESTION: Good afternoon. There seems to be a growing international consensus that now is the time to really focus on the pressure track with Iran. And – but just this morning, President Lula said that it’s not prudent to put Iran against the wall and that negotiations are still the way to go, still called for. Why is Brazil refusing to join this consensus, which now includes a very strong statement from the European Union this morning, and even President Medvedev of Russia yesterday? Why is Brazil refusing to join in this consensus?
And Madam Secretary, what is the US. position on Brazil’s stance? Is it frustrating that the Brazilians are refusing to get with the program on this, like the Chinese?
And then if I might also, this morning, the Arab League Follow-up Committee endorsed the plans for proximity talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I’m wondering what your reaction to that is and what role the Administration – in particular, Senator Mitchell – will play in those.
FOREIGN MINISTER AMORIM: (Via interpreter) First of all, just a brief comment on Venezuela. Without, of course, agreeing with everything that the Madam Secretary said, I do agree, however, with one point; it is to say that Venezuela has to look southwards more. And that is why we have invited Venezuela to join MERCOSUR as a full member country, member state, which I think will be a very positive and favorable development to ensure that Venezuela’s relations with South American countries will be able to expand to include, of course, Brazil. And of course, such an expansion will prove very positive, it is my belief.
Now, as regards the question asked by our Associated Press reporter, it is not a matter of Brazil refusing to join consensus on this matter. Of course, international relations are not discussed as you seem to describe them. I mean, we don’t discuss international matters on the basis of pressure factor only. I think each country, just as the case for each individual in life, has to think with his or her own head, and we do think with our own head.
The fact is that our objectives here are one and the same. We are all working and we want to have a place – a world free of nuclear weapons, as President Obama himself stated more broadly, and also a world where there will be no nuclear proliferation underway.
Now, we, of course, as indicated by our joint communiqué, we are concerned about the nuclear issue in Iran. It is a source of concern. The question, of course, is determining or identifying the best way to get here from – to get from here to where we have to get to. Now, whether or not the possibility for negotiations have been exhausted has yet to be determined. Now, we have – we also have to determine whether potentially coercive measures – sanctions, for that matter – will prove positive or negative. So in that regard, of course, our views may prove to differ and not necessarily be in line with each other, but that does not, of course, preclude us from exchanging views very candidly, very frankly, and in a spirit of sincerity on the several different facets of this issue.
Obviously, the issue surrounding Iran and the potential implications of Iran’s nuclear program are, by definition, complex issues, in my view. But I think (inaudible) the door has been opened and there is a clear-cut opportunity, given the fact that Iran made a request – and I underline Iran made a request to buy fuel elements in the West – in the West – and by the way, not just West, but also Russia, China, and other countries, and through the IAEA countries, of course, submitted a swap proposal, if you will. We do believe that we still have the possibility of, say, coming to an agreement, given the proposed swap arrangement. Of course, that may require an element of flexibility on both sides. But I think given the basic elements currently in place, I believe what I have heard so far would be enough to allow us to move towards an agreement. The elements are conducive to an agreement.
Of course, this is just my own assessment or view, and we are always open to your views and assessment by other friendly countries such as (inaudible) the United States. But we will not simply bow down to evolving consensus if we do not agree. When, for example, we had the Cancun meeting on the WTO, we were also charged with not joining the evolving consensus at the time, because, at the time, between the EU, the U.S., as you yourself indicated, I mean, the evolving consensus between the U.S., the EU and Japan. Today, by contrast, of course, our work (inaudible) seen by all in hindsight, including the U.S. and EU, as a major factor that proved the round to move ahead and make headway. Of course, the round did not prove successful in terms of the full completion. So I’m not even sure we have a majority here. We can’t just join the majorities because consensus is evolving. We have to think by ourselves and with our own values and principles. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me say with respect to Iran, as the foreign minister said, we share the same goal. We both do not want to see Iran become a nuclear weapons country. We both support the goal of nonproliferation. We both believe that engagement and negotiation is preferable to sanctions and pressure. And to that end, President Obama has been reaching out to the Iranians for more than a year; and unfortunately, that outreach has not been reciprocated.
In fact, during this past year, what have we learned? We’ve learned that Iran had a previously undisclosed secret facility in Qom working on nuclear enrichment. We’ve learned that the Iranians at first seemed open to but then rejected the offer by the United States, Russia, and France for an exchange taking the uranium – enriched uranium out of their country to enrich it, to return it, to run the Tehran research reactor. We have learned that after one meeting with the so-called P-5+1, namely, the members of the Security Council plus Germany, in October, Iran refuses to meet again. We have learned that the IAEA has issued a very long, detailed report pointing to the evidence that we believe supports our fears that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
So there is no disagreement between us about wanting to avoid that outcome. The United States has concluded, along with the European Union, Russia, and others, that the time for international action is now; and therefore, we are working in the Security Council to try to demonstrate to Iran that there are consequences to their violation of IAEA regulations and of Security Council resolutions.
I respect Brazil’s belief that there still is room for negotiation. We believe that a good faith effort by Iran toward negotiation would be welcomed by the international community. We have yet to see such a good faith offer of negotiation.
So we are proceeding in the Security Council, we are consulting with our Brazilian friends, because at some point, we have to make a decision. If the international community, which believes in nonproliferation, which believes that a nuclear-armed Iran would destabilize one of the most unstable regions of the world, namely, the Middle East; if we believe that a nuclear-armed Iran would produce an arms race in the Middle East that might lead to conflict, then we have to do what we can do peacefully as soon as possible to avoid that.
So we will be working in the Security Council and we will continue to consult closely with Brazil, a valued partner on these and so many matters. And the door is open for negotiation. We never slammed it shut. But we don’t see anybody even in the far-off distance walking toward it. We see an Iran that runs to Brazil, an Iran that runs to Turkey, an Iran that runs to China, telling different things to different people to avoid international sanction, which we think are the best way to avoid problems like conflicts and arms races that could disrupt the stability, the peace, and the oil markets of the world.
So we will continue to discuss this because we share the same goal. It’s a question of what path we think is most likely to get us to that goal.
With respect to your second question, Matt, on the proximity talks, we were very pleased by the endorsement that came out of Cairo today from the Arab Follow-up group. With respect to the proximity talks, we hope that they will begin soon. Senator Mitchell will be deeply involved in those talks. We have a very strong commitment to pursue a two-state solution to give the Palestinians the state that they deserve that they have aspired to, and to give the Israelis the security in their state that they have aspired and deserve.
So I think that the United States, along with other countries, are very committed to trying to bring about the two-state solution, and we hope the proximity talks will be the beginning of that process.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) I’m (Inaudible) with Econômico newspaper. As far as I understand what the Secretary of State has just told us, given the information available to (inaudible), the Iranians are dragging their feet, if you will, with Brazil and Turkey, and they are trying to stonewall (inaudible) just to avoid the actual enforcement and/or application of sanctions. Is that true? If so, I’d like to know from you what information, Mr. Minister (inaudible), information conveyed here by the U.S. Secretary of State. Are they convincing or persuasive enough to sustain the theory that Iran is indeed moving towards nuclear development for nuclear warfare? Do you think the Iranian nuclear program will be put for war-oriented purposes? And (inaudible), do you think Brazil has plans to change its stance towards Iran by potentially even supporting sanctions against Iran? That’s to Minister Amorim.
To Madam Secretary, my question is, I understand U.S. officials have said that they would like to see more rigorous measures from Brazil towards Iran, so I would like to know what kind of rigorous, severe measures you would expect to see from Brazil. Are we talking about sanctions or other kinds of actions on the part of Brazil towards Iran?
And I would also like to know from you, Madam Secretary, whether you are pleased or satisfied with what you have heard from the Brazilian Government so far.
One further point, leaving Iran aside for a minute. There is a matter that is not so much with the Secretary of State. It’s to do with the USTR, but which may nevertheless have political implications or a ripple effect. It’s to do with the WTO controversy between – or cotton dispute between the two countries on the WTO rulings. So I’d like to hear your views on two aspects of this matter. Number one, or (a), so far the U.S. has not yet submitted a countervailing proposal and the proposal put forth to reduce subsidies to cotton growing in the U.S. (inaudible) has been found (inaudible) as being insufficient by Brazil. Brazil has stated that the U.S. proposal so far was a way to somehow offset the losses and therefore not authorize Brazil to engage in any retaliatory or retaliation measures on IPR, or intellectual property rights.
So my question to you is, Madam Secretary, why is it that Brazil has not yet – or why is it the U.S. has not yet submitted a negotiating proposal with the U.S. to Brazil? Do you also think that there is any possibility for the U.S. Government to counter retaliating in case Brazil does apply retaliatory measures on IPR?
FOREIGN MINISTER AMORIM: (Via interpreter) Well, you thought – the Secretary of State thought that the U.S. media was harsh, but you are much harsher than the U.S. media, apparently. (Laughter.) It was rather a long question, but still. Fine, I understand the first question was addressed to me. I can’t even remember anymore. You asked so many questions. It was really like a dissertation more than a question.
Anyway, what I have to say is that we, of course, pay great attention, as is always appropriate, to say, the views voiced by the United States. I don’t think it is fair to say that there has been, say, a novel and special development or event. What we have today on the table are different views and takes on the issue that have been voiced and exchanged, which we, of course, highly respect and do take into account. But obviously enough, it is always very risky to compare different situations.
But what you referred to – and I’m not, of course, talking about anything that the Secretary herself referred to, but what you referred to in your comment/question as to the alleged idea that Iran is, say, deceiving and misleading and not being very straightforward with Brazil, Turkey and China – all I – what I have to say is that I acted as ambassador to Turkey before critical decisions were made on Iraq. And that’s very much what I heard back in 1998, 1999. I mean, smoke and mirrors – were playing smoke and mirrors.
And what we saw, in fact, was the major charge against Iraq never did materialize. I mean, I’m not saying that in the past, they did not have any programs on weapons of mass destruction; they did have. However, the fact is that the destruction caused and the losses that the war had incurred were huge. I’m not saying that we will pursue this or that course of action, no. I think I heard the Secretary indicate that sanctions would be a way to avoid further and more serious conflict, if I understood properly what she said.
Now, our concern is a twofold concern. Number one, Iran is a large, complex nation. It is a nation that, unlike any other small country – I’m not saying that small countries do not deserve as much respect – but what I’m saying is that only with difficulty will the – Iran actually accept a situation where a decision is imposed on it top-down. I think that nevertheless, that the agreement that was proposed some time ago, from my standpoint – and it’s just like (inaudible) – from the Iranian perspective, had a merit to it, because it clearly acknowledged Iran’s right to have a civilian nuclear program, to include enrichment, to a certain extent.
So there was tremendous merit in that proposal, and it would be a pity if Iran waste that opportunity. They have to seize the opportunity that is available to them now. And initially, the Iranians seemed to at least agree with that proposal. Now, of course, a number of political developments happened in Iran as well as in the West, so political factors came into play both in Iran and in the West, which led Iran to take a step back.
Now, the question at hand now is: Is it still possible to come to a solution or a formula that, based on the same concepts, on the same underlying ideas that proved so inspirational in vetting to the previous proposal – is it still possible to materialize such an agreement today? In our view, yes, still, it is possible. But I do agree with you; things are becoming more difficult day after day because as time goes by, of course, people tend to take on a harder and harder stance.
The IAEA, of course, charges Iran and condemns it for what it’s did. And if Iran had the – or needed some kind of pretext, it does have a pretext now for going after 20 percent enrichment initiatives. And if so, then of course, that means that the level of suspicion around Iran goes up. So this negative spiral we seem to be seeing here, we have already seen in other cases in the past. But we, Brazil, we still – we are still open for further attempts to be made. The only, say, difference that we seem to have between us now is that perhaps – yes, it is perhaps worthwhile now engaging in an effort one more time. The director of the IAEA will soon come to Brazil. I can tell him that on a firsthand basis if we have enough time between now and then.
I mean, I will easily and very frankly tell him, why do you not call upon all Iranian negotiators and P-5 – or G-5+1 and perhaps Turkey or other countries who add, say, an element of fresh air in the discussion to try to come up with a relevant solution, including the P-5+1 countries. Even if Iran does develop the atomic bomb – I’m not saying it will do it or does not want to do it or it cannot do it. What I’m saying is that even if they do set out to do that, it’ll be a while. So perhaps another two- or three-month effort spearheaded by the director general of the IAEA would not it itself prevent Iran from doing that.
So that’s our view. I have never said or stated how Brazil plans to vote at the Security Council. We, of course, have – uphold our view that sanctions, broadly speaking – and I’m not saying very – I’m not being very absolutely – absolute here. What I’m saying is that usually, more often than not, sanctions tend to have a negative effect. I was able to follow the state of affairs in Iraq right before 2003 and the sanctions that applied at the time. So that’s my view.
But your other question about Qatar was not really being addressed to me, but if I may and if Madam Secretary allows me, I will try to address that issue too because I think it is important to know what’s going on there with as much clarity as possible. You asked the question about retaliation. Madam Secretary will certainly answer that question. But I can certainly not think that the U.S., a country that fostered the creation of (inaudible) and the WTO, the WTO being a rules-based system to govern international trade, that – not that the U.S. will resort to an expedient that is totally out of line with international rules. So I will not die – I would not be surprised enough, neither will I be utterly surprised to the point of dying from such a surprise, of course not.
Now, with respect to Afghanistan, I understand a list will be published in the next week or so, and of course, will take effect only 30 days after. We do, of course, want negotiations to evolve, and the list will be drafted solely on the basis of goods, products, services and/or other assets that have been duly authorized by the WTO, strictly speaking – therefore, within international trade law. But we, of course, do hope that in the meantime, we will be able to come to a more successful round of negotiations.
I even told Madam Secretary that had we completed the Doha round before, we would not find ourselves in the problems we have today, because if – or what Brazil did to solve not our cotton problems, but the African people’s problem is actually much more than what they would have to accommodate our demands at the WTO.
SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to the WTO cotton controversy, I feel like I’ve walked into a movie that’s been going on for years. And it is my hope we can bring this movie to happier ending. I understand from the foreign minister that Brazil will be, next week, publishing a list of actions that it intends to take with respect to the decision under – in accordance to their appeal from the WTO.
The United States will also be sending two high-level officials next week to discuss a countervailing proposal. We will be presenting ideas because, as the foreign minister said, the Brazilian action doesn’t come into effect for 30 days. So there is time for us to try to resolve this in a peaceful and productive way without any further action. There’s so much trade between our two countries, and it is an area of such potential growth between our two countries, that we hope we’re able to work through this issue and get to a resolution. That is what we’re going to try to do starting next week.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter.) This concludes this interview or press conference. Thank you very much. Microphone, please. Microphone, please.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we have answered that in our questions, but I will certainly reiterate that our door is always open for negotiations, but it has to be a door that swings both ways. We don’t see any real effort on the part of the Iranians to pursue that offer. The IAEA similarly does not see any evidence of such an effort. But instead, with its recent report last week, the efforts of Iran going in the opposite direction and the decision to begin enriching uranium to 20 percent, which is a big leap from where they are to where they need to be for weapons – once they get to 20 percent, it’s a small leap to get to the full enrichment for nuclear weapons.
But we are going to continue our work in the Security Council. No one prefers sanctions. We all wish that this could be negotiated. And we have consistently said that. That’s what President Obama said on his inaugural day, in his inauguration speech when he said we hold out our hand, but the other side must unclench its fist. Despite President Obama’s public offers, despite everything we’ve done, we’ve seen no real sincere efforts by the Iranians to meet the concerns of the international community.
So we don’t have any disagreement on the point that – if negotiation could result in a satisfactory resolution, we would support that. But we see no evidence that Iran is willing to do that. So we are pursuing sanctions which we think is an important effort by the international community to send a clear message to Iran. And personally speaking, I think it’s only after we pass sanctions in the Security Council that Iran will negotiate in good faith.
Now, we have a somewhat different perspective on that, but that is my belief, that is our Administration’s belief that once the international community speaks in unison around a resolution, then the Iranians will come and begin to negotiate. So we want to get to the negotiations; we just think that the best path is through the United Nations Security Council.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much. This concludes this press conference.
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