SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone. I’m delighted to welcome a friend and a colleague and someone very familiar here in Washington back to the State Department in his new capacity as foreign minister. Antonio, it’s always a pleasure to see you, and thank you for being here so that we could have a very broad-ranging discussion and particularly prepare for President Obama’s upcoming visit to Brazil.
I was very privileged to attend the inauguration of President Rousseff, and the wonderful potential of everything that we’re working on holds great promise for broadening and deepening our already strong partnership. This will be President Obama’s first presidential visit to South America. It comes at a time when we are cooperating closely and our bilateral work on issues and global challenges, including food security and human rights and clean energy and global inequality, is key to both of us. And we will explore even additional ways to pursue our common interests and our common values. Both Brazil and the United States seek to promote open and accountable government, civil rights, a vibrant civil society, and social inclusion.
And President Rousseff has placed particular emphasis on eliminating poverty and advancing the role of women, something that I am particularly pleased to endorse. And the two are connected, because empowered women tend to be entrepreneurial women who lift their families and even their neighborhoods and communities out of poverty.
I am also pleased that last year our two countries launched the Global Partnership Dialogue to advance exchanges on economic, security, and social issues. In the past year, our energy ministries have concluded a work plan for energy that will help us collaborate on advancing sustainable technologies such as hydropower, smart grids, and energy efficient housing. We initialed an Open Skies agreement that will increase the number of flights between the United States and Brazil and make pricing more competitive, and we signed a defense cooperation agreement that will help us work together to meet the security challenges confronting us. I also was pleased that we signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will help us together promote international development.
Brazil brings so much to the table when it comes to global development, and I often point to Brazil as a model. And I am delighted that just recently the foreign minister chaired the Security Council on Security and Development. Brazil has pioneered innovative and indigenous responses to HIV/AIDS. After the tragic earthquake in Haiti, Brazil became one of Haiti’s top ten donors. It already commanded and continues to command the UN Stabilization Mission that has provided security to the Haitian people. And we have worked together closely to ensure that the next round of elections in Haiti go well.
So Brazil has enormous credibility when it comes to development, and the United States supports what Brazil is doing in reaching out around the world. In fact, the foreign minister told me that Brazil has opened 50 new embassies in recent years. And we look forward to working with Brazil, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
So this is an exciting time for Brazil and for our relationship. The whole world is looking forward to Brazil hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016. And we are especially pleased that President Obama will be visiting Brazil and will have a chance to speak directly to the Brazilian people about the cooperation, partnership, and friendship that exists not only between our leaders but between our people.
FOREIGN MINISTER PATRIOTA: Well, thank you so much, Secretary Hillary Clinton. First of all, we’re very pleased that you came to the inauguration of President Dilma Rousseff, who has asked me to convey her warm greetings to you. I am very pleased to be in Washington for two days of discussions not only here at the State Department, but I also met with National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon. I will be meeting with Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, among others. And we, of course, are looking forward to President Obama’s visit to Brazil on the 19th of March.
You have mentioned many of the recent accomplishments in the U.S.-Brazil relationship, a very solid relationship, a relationship that has grown over the years in a number of areas, including through trade, investment, through contacts between civil societies. We’ve established new partnerships that deal with issues such as combating racial discrimination, promoting gender equality, and we were very pleased to receive Ambassador Melanne Verveer recently, who is in charge of those issues.
So our intention is to build on this solid foundation and to look at some new strategic areas for cooperation. And in particular, we’ve had a very useful discussion on science and technology, how to enhance our cooperation in this area, innovation, in addition to looking at business opportunities. And we’re pleased that the high-level CEO Forum will be meeting also on the margins of the forthcoming presidential visit.
Of course, political dialogue is also increasingly important for Brazil with the key actors in today’s increasingly multipolar world. We were very happy that the U.S. supported our initiative to hold a debate at the Security Council on the inter-linkage between peace, security, and development. Indeed, we believe this is of the essence in trying to tackle some of the challenges such as the one that we are working, I think, very cooperatively to improve in Haiti.
And I look forward to the Global Partnership Dialogue that we’ve established. Perhaps we could schedule a meeting still during this first semester to have a broad view of the different
mechanisms that are at work and forging ahead through new partnerships, including in strategic areas.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Rosalind Jordan from Al Jazeera English.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, Mr. Foreign Minister, thank you. First, very briefly for the foreign minister, the question is: Where is Southern Cone unity regarding Libya? Some countries have said that they are not pleased with what’s happened in country. Others, including Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, have indicated that Mr. Qadhafi should continue to stay in power.
And Madam Secretary, ordinary Libyans have been reaching out to their friends, their relatives, to the international media, and they say that they’re in terror. They’re horrified. They’re in fear of their lives. Hundreds of people have already died. And they’re wondering, where is the United States at this moment? They’re feeling abandoned, that – that’s what they’re telling us. Are sanctions in order here, a referral to the ICC for human rights violations? What about cutting off trade? What about putting Libya back on the state sponsor of terror list? Where is the United States, and what is it going to take for Washington to act? Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER PATRIOTA: Well, maybe I can make a few comments here. First of all, Brazil is very concerned with the situation in Libya. We have a number of nationals working there through companies that have been involved in several infrastructure projects, including enlarging the airport at Tripoli. And at this point, without providing any details, I’m fairly encouraged that our efforts to provide a way out of the country for those who wish to depart will meet with success. This is our sincere hope.
I must say that it is a positive feature within a very complex, problematic situation that so far we have not witnessed violence against foreigners in Libya. Having said that, we, of course, were in favor of addressing the situation at the Security Council. Yesterday, there was a press statement that came out. And as you know, Brazil is at the presidency of the Security Council during the month of February. We’ve also associated ourselves with an initiative to call a meeting of the Human Rights Council to look at the situation in Libya. And differently from what happened in Egypt and Tunisia, what to us is a very worrying element here is the use of force against unarmed protestors.
Otherwise, we see the manifestations in Northern Africa and the Arab world as a movement that can only elicit solidarity from the Brazilian people, inasmuch as it is a movement for better governance, more participation in decision making, more job opportunity, a vision of a better future for the youth of these countries. And we would like to see, in whatever way possible, we can support their efforts towards these objectives.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say I think that the United States, starting with what the President said on Friday, what I reiterated yesterday, have made it absolutely clear that we strongly condemn the violence in Libya, that we have called for an end to violence against protestors and those who are seeking the rights that are due to any people, anywhere. And we deeply regret the loss of life that has already occurred.
We’ve joined with the international community to speak with one voice, because, as your question implied, first we have to get the international community together, because there is no doubt in my mind that this is now the moment for the international community to act together.
And to that end, we joined a very strong United Nations Security Council statement yesterday. We are consulting closely. The foreign minister and I spoke about this at great length during our meeting, because we are joining with the rest of the world in sending a clear message to the Libyan Government that violence is unacceptable and that the Libyan Government will be held accountable for the actions that it is taking.
Now, the way that we will proceed in the Security Council and in the Human Rights Council is to come up with the best approaches that we think will help the people of Libya. And remember, that must be our objective; that right now the situation is fluid, it is uncertain, it is difficult to get a clear understanding of everything that is happening everywhere throughout the country. So we are working very closely with partners. And there are many countries that have much closer relations with Libya than we do. As you know, we haven’t had those relations for many years to the extent that we’ve had the kind of influence that other countries might be able to exercise now. But everything will be on the table. We will look at all the possible options to try to bring an end to the violence, to try to influence the government.
But as I said yesterday, obviously, as you heard the foreign minister, in any situation, our foremost concern has to be for the safety and security of our own citizens just as the foreign minister’s concern has to be for the safety and security of Brazilian citizens. And we are encouraging Americans to leave Libya. And we have taken the step of providing a chartered ferry boat today to take off not only all the Americans who could get to the ferry boat pier, but also other nationals from other countries who we have offered to similarly take out of Libya. We urge Americans to depart immediately. If they need help, they should contact the Embassy or go to our Bureau of Consular Affairs website for information. So we are moving on several tracks simultaneously.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible) Sao Paulo.
QUESTION: Thank you. The question is for Secretary Clinton, but we would also like for Minister Patriota to comment afterwards. Does the American Government see a change in the position of the Brazilian Government in regards to Iran? And will the U.S. – will Brazil have the support of the U.S. for a permanent seat at the Security Council, as did India?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, with respect to Iran, we are constantly speaking with our Brazilian friends because we share the view that we do not want Iran to become a nuclear weapons state. And Brazil has been very active in its diplomacy, and Brazil has also worked to enforce the international sanctions that were adopted by the Security Council. So our view is that we are all looking for ways to influence the behavior of the Iranian regime. And we believe strongly that the sanctions are working, that they are having an impact within Iran, and we are going to continue to work with partners across the world to enforce those sanctions.
We are also looking for action in the Human Rights Council in the upcoming session to once again point out the human rights abuses within Iran. I mean, it’s been the height of irony and even hypocrisy to see Iran cheering on protestors who are peacefully demonstrating in Egypt or Tunisia while they brutally suppress peaceful protests in Iran. So I think that there’s a lot that we’re all trying to pursue in a common effort by the international community to influence the actions of the Iranian Government when it comes to their nuclear program.
With respect to Brazil’s position in the United Nations and elsewhere, as I told the foreign minister, we very much admire Brazil’s growing global leadership and its aspiration to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. We look forward to a constructive dialogue with Brazil on this issue during President Obama’s trip and going forward. We believe that there are many, many areas of leadership multilaterally that Brazil will be demonstrating, and we want to support those efforts.
Thank you all very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER PATRIOTA: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I would never run out on any man as good looking as you, except – (laughter) – I have to go meet the President right now to talk about Libya and other matters, so I’m going to leave you.
FOREIGN MINISTER PATRIOTA: Thank you so much. And I’ll say goodbye Brazilian style. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very, very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER PATRIOTA: Thank you very much. (Via interpreter.) Well, I want to quickly respond to the question. (In Portuguese.)
(Via interpreter.) You all know what the Brazil – what Brazil’s intention and goals are. Through dialogue and diplomacy we want to help solve issues that may be destabilizing to peace in the world and be it the ones that the Security Council deal with or others that are outside the Security Council. Of course, the nuclear aspirations of Iran is one of those issues, and Brazil wants to contribute and be one of the countries that help solve that problem and also to reduce the mistrust that exists between Iran and the countries that are part of the Security Council among others. So this is the mindset that guides our actions.
I think the United States understands our position. We talked a lot about Iran; we talked about the Arab world in general, and I think there is a certain convergence or idea, ideas about what we would like to see happen in the region. I mean, all the protests that are happening there now – I mean, it is a crisis, but this crisis also opens up the door to opportunities.
To answer a question about Security Council and Brazil’s membership, I think the Secretary of State gave a very positive response to that, what we would like is to see the U.S. be part of a deep reform of the Security Council, which would bring a larger number of permanent members to that body, especially members who are part of the developing world. And I think that, given all contributions that Brazil has made to the Security Council, Brazil is in a good position as far as that’s concerned.