Secretary Clinton: Thank you very much for the your excellent questions sent during my recent trip to Latin America. Several themes appeared throughout all of your questions. Listed below are my responses to questions that represent the important issues you raised.
Please note that some of these questions also represent issues raised during a Townterview event with Brazil's Globo Network March 3, 2010.
João asks: (via GloboTV’s G1)
I would like to know if the current United States government continues to consider Brazil as an important partner in the sector of new energy sources and what are the plans of President Obama for the future of cooperation with Brazil in the segment of clean energy?
Guilherme asks: (via GloboTV’s G1)
Does the U.S. intend to help fighting deforestation in the Amazon?
João and Guilherme: Thank you both for those very important questions. While I was in Brasilia, I signed a “Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation Regarding Climate Change” with Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim that will strengthen bilateral cooperation between the United States and Brazil as we work to meet the global climate and clean energy challenge. This agreement will improve cooperation in key areas, including building on the Copenhagen Accord, which our two nations helped to craft last December. We will work together to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and renew our commitment to bilateral partnership on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other climate and energy issues. We admire all that Brazil has achieved in this area and look forward to working together in the future.
During my time in Brazil I also had the opportunity to meet with business leaders who are participating in socially responsible public-private partnerships, including many relating to energy and environmental issues. For example, Coca-Cola, in partnership with USAID, is supporting the Brazil Rainforest Water Program, which aims to rehabilitate the health and vitality of water in hydrographic micro-basins (key elements of the disappearing Atlantic Rainforest) through planting trees on lands bordering vital waterways. The program hopes to reforest 3,000 hectares of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest over a five-year period. This kind of partnership, and the participation of the private sector, is crucial to meeting complex challenges such as climate change and environmental degradation. Governments can’t do it alone, so we all need to work together.
Américo asks: (via GloboTV’s G1)
From 1993 to 2001, you were First Lady of the United States. Now, you are Secretary of State. How do you feel as secretary in the Obama administration?
Américo: I have been a very fortunate person. I had a family that supported me. I had parents who believed that girls were just as valuable and could be their own people just as boys were. I had great teachers in my school. I had so many advantages. So I’ve been very blessed, and I’m very grateful for that. And I get to serve a country that I love and I get to work with a President who I admire, and I think that it’s a very special time in history.
Edmilson asks: (via GloboTV’s G1)
Up to which point [does] the U.S. still [regard] Brazil as an ally vis-à-vis the Iranian nuclear question?
Edmilson: I had excellent meetings in Brasilia with President Lula, with the Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, and others about the situation in Iran. The United States and Brazil share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. We discussed the best way to achieve that goal. And we both believe that negotiations and diplomacy are always better than another approach, but sometimes you have to put more pressure on in order to get a sincere negotiation.
We are proceeding in the United Nations Security Council, working with many other countries who share our concerns, to create that pressure through greater sanctions that will get the attention of the Iranian Government. And the Brazilian Government is also working to achieve the ultimate goal of curbing the spread of nuclear weapons. So we will continue talking about how we get to where we both want to end up.
Letícia asks: (via GloboTV’s G1)
What are the United States’ expectations for the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons that will happen this year?
Letícia: Thank you for this very timely question. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty entered into force 40 years ago this week, setting up a framework of norms and rules to curtail the spread of nuclear weapons. In the decades since, more states have relinquished nuclear weapons – or decided against pursuing them – than have acquired them, in large measure because of the international consensus embodied in the NPT. The Obama administration is working to renew that consensus. We are reaffirming our NPT commitments to make progress toward nuclear disarmament and guarantee access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes to all those abiding by their nonproliferation commitments. Our diplomats, including Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation Susan Burk, have been traveling the globe to bolster international support for the Treaty. And in May, the nations from around world will convene at the United Nations in New York for the NPT Review Conference, which takes place every five years.
The United States is taking other steps to address worldwide nuclear threats and build on the NPT’s foundation. We are negotiating a verifiable arms reduction treaty with Russia. President Obama is hosting a Nuclear Security Summit in April to reduce proliferation risks. And the administration will seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and pursue a verified fissile material cut-off treaty.
President Obama set forth a comprehensive vision last April on the steps required to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. The NPT regime is integral to that vision and as we mark this 40th anniversary we are reaffirming our commitment to lead the world’s effort to renew and revitalize this historic agreement.
Luiz at Florianópolis - SC Brazil asks: (via Text the Secretary)
Does the U.S. government plan to improve educational exchange programs among American and Brazilian universities, like we see it is happening with China and India?
Luiz: Yes, we want to increase educational exchanges between the United States and Brazil. I would like to see thousands of Brazilian students coming to the United States every year and thousands of students from the United States coming to Brazil every year. And we’re looking for ways to do that. I encourage you to research all of the available programs and scholarships you can apply even by contacting the local embassy; they would be willing to guide you along the way. And I hope we are going to have even more opportunities in the future.
In fact, we’re working to increase educational linkages across the Hemisphere. This year alone, the United States offered 100 teachers from across the region training in English language instruction, and over 400,000 students are learning English at the 140 binational centers we support. This is work we are committed to continuing, and I’ve asked our partners to make this a mutual exchange. Millions of U.S. citizens speak Spanish as a first or second language, or are learning how to speak it. By working with our partners across the Americas, we can help even more U.S. citizens learn Spanish, and that will increase our trade and business ties.