Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, At Instituto Rio Branco, Brasilia

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
Brasilia, Brazil
April 16, 2013


Thanks so much for having me and thank you Sergio Barreiros for your kind introduction. I’m very pleased to be in Brasilia today and especially to spend time with you at Instituto Rio Branco. Yet, as you know, this is a profoundly sad moment for all Americans. The heinous terrorist attack in Boston yesterday reminds us of our common humanity and our unity in resolve to reject such senseless violence. The U.S. is grateful for the generous statement of support by President Rousseff and the many personal expressions of condolences we’ve received from Brazilians from all walks of life.

I’m honored indeed to speak at your revered institution. On this trip, I wanted to meet not only with leaders in your government but also with people like you who represent Brazil’s future. I hear the courses here are tough, so I’ll promise you two things: first, diplomacy in action is even tougher than the classroom; and second, you’ll always derive tremendous pride from the privilege of serving your country.

I’m looking forward to our discussion, but first, I would like to talk briefly about the cooperation between our two great nations.

The United States and Brazil are natural partners. We share vibrant democracies, respect for human rights, and our economies are increasingly interlinked. Overall, we work well together in New York and across the UN system.

Together, we’re helping Haiti rebuild, with steadfast Brazilian leadership of the UN peacekeeping force. We’re collaborating closely at the UN Human Rights Council to give voice to ordinary citizens suffering under the world’s cruelest regimes. And we have led the way at the UN in protecting the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people everywhere.

I had the opportunity to serve recently with Brazil on the UN Security Council at a time when our agenda was very full. As you might expect, we didn’t always agree. In the Council, we act by consensus on many matters. Yet, at times, the U.S. and Brazil found ourselves on different sides of issues, including Iran sanctions, Libya, and Syria. But these cases were comparatively few. We especially value your leadership on peacekeeping and human rights. As President Obama said, the U.S. appreciates Brazil’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the Security Council, and we welcome your increasing assumption of global responsibilities.

And, when we do disagree, we must continue to do so as friends—openly, honestly, and respectfully. Above all, we should not forget that our shared interests and values vastly outweigh our differences. As President Obama said two years ago in Rio, “let us stand together—not as senior and junior partners, but as equal partners, joined in a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect, committed to the progress that I know that we can make together.”

Since President Obama’s historic visit, our two nations have grown ever closer. Through the Open Government Partnership, we have jointly led the way in advancing a new standard of good governance, transparency, and accountability. Together, we’re feeding the hungry and bolstering food security worldwide, helping to heal the sick in Africa and combat the scourge of narcotics. We are carrying forward the progress from last year’s Rio + 20 Summit to spur sustainable development. And, we applaud Brazil for utilizing some of the cleanest, most diverse energy sources of any country on Earth.

We’re also working together to give more students in both our countries the world-class education so essential for broad-based economic growth in today’s interwoven world.

Yet, for all we’ve accomplished together, there remain serious challenges, which I hope we will be able to face together as well.

The U.S. is particularly concerned about the dangers of nuclear proliferation. We’re glad that Brazil is implementing Security Council sanctions against Iran for defying its international nuclear obligations and that Brazil voted last September for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors’ resolutions holding Iran accountable for its violations. We will continue to work with the international community to press Iran to resolve the widespread concern about its nuclear program.

We will also continue pursuing peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state; nor will we stand by while it seeks to develop a nuclear-armed missile that can target the United States and its allies. We appreciate that Brazil made strong statements in response to North Korea’s December 2012 missile launch and its February 2013 nuclear test. We all must maintain robust implementation of all Security Council resolutions on North Korea.

We also hope that Brazil will continue speaking out for human rights, as you did in supporting the latest Human Rights Council resolutions on Iran and Syria. When Brazil defends human rights, it remembers the lessons of its own past—the way that a cry for change that starts in the streets can transform an entire nation, and the knowledge that courage and determination can sweep aside cruelty and dictatorship.

And that seems the right place to end—with the universal values our two great countries cherish. We share more than just a hemisphere; we share a belief in the power of democracy. And as two nations made up of people of every race, religion, and creed, we both know that diversity is a lasting source of national strength.

These values bring us together. They are deeply American and deeply Brazilian. May they always light the relationship between Brazil and the United States—and may they light your own paths as you make the world we share more peaceful, prosperous, and free.

Obrigada. Boa sorte.


PRN: 2013/054