Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, At A Joint Press Availability with Brazilian Foreign Minister Patriota at the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, Brasilia

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
April 17, 2013




Foreign Minister Patriota: (In Portuguese.)

Ambassador Rice: Muito obrigada. It’s really been my pleasure to be here in Brazil at the invitation of Foreign Minister Patriota, who is both a friend and a colleague whom I value. I want to thank him again, and the Foreign Ministry, for their exceptional hospitality during what is an exciting time for Brazil and for our bilateral relationship.

The U.S.-Brazil partnership is based on shared values and interests in the Western Hemisphere and around the world. As global leaders and the two largest democracies in the Western Hemisphere, the United States and Brazil are building a strong and mutually respectful partnership to achieve positive outcomes on issues of common concern. I view my time here in Brazil, including today’s meetings, as yet another opportunity to strengthen the ties between our two governments and societies.

As the Foreign Minister said, he and I had excellent, far-reaching discussions today. As the breadth and depth of our discussion underscores, our bilateral relationship and our collaboration in multilateral fora have grown markedly in recent years. I won’t reprise the list of topics that we covered. The Foreign Minister outlined them in great depth. But I want to reiterate that I underscored the United States’ gratitude for Brazil’s commitment to peacekeeping, and especially for your continued leadership and contributions to the United Nations Mission in Haiti, which is a shared priority. The service and sacrifice of Brazilian peacekeepers has helped to spur the progress that Haiti has made thus far. Together, the United States and Brazil are working to help Haitians rebuild and ensure a brighter future for their people.

I also thanked the Foreign Minister for Brazil’s leadership in defending human rights, and we discussed ways, as he mentioned, that we could strengthen our cooperation to advance our shared commitment to human rights.

During the course of my visit over the last several days to Brazil, I had the distinct privilege of meeting with students at Instituto Rio Branco. Their questions were sophisticated and pertinent, and I stressed at the time that, while the United States and Brazil may not always see eye-to-eye on everything, the extent of our partnership and common objectives really do create a large, productive space for our relationship to thrive.

I also visited Rio de Janeiro, where I saw the joint Peacekeeping Center, and met with the Governor, had productive meetings with members of civil society, including representatives of Rio’s LGBT community, as well as Afro-Brazilian leaders. I had the opportunity as well to visit Complexo de Alemao, where I spoke with some residents and UPP leaders, and learned about Rio’s efforts to make their communities safer.

Throughout this trip, I must say how much I’ve appreciated the warm welcome I received from the government and people of Brazil. Brazil and the United States share vibrant multi-ethnic democracies. We both value diversity and respect for human rights while striving towards greater social inclusion and equal opportunity.

I am grateful, Mr. Minister, for your generous hospitality and for our deepening partnership. And I look forward to continuing to work with you to seize new opportunities and to meet shared challenges.

Thank you very much.

Moderator: (In Portuguese.)

Reporter: (Via Translator.) Lisandra Paraguassu, Estado de Sao Paulo Newspaper, Ambassador, when Brazil and Turkey negotiated the nuclear question a few years ago with Iran, the United States was extremely critical, and you were one of the most critical of Brazil’s actions at that time, and the question of the intention of Brazil to join the Security Council also came up. Brazil and the United States continue to have different positions – for example, now, Brazil was one of the first to recognize Venezuela and the United States is asking for a recount of the votes. I believe that your position with regard to the intentions of Brazil has changed, if the United States wants to support Brazil, the desire of Brazil to join the UN Security Council. Where are we at with these questions and differences of opinion, such as the question of Venezuela?

Ambassador Rice: I take two questions in one: Venezuela and expansion of the Security Council. Let me elaborate the U.S. view on expansion of the Security Council. First and foremost, the United States takes the view that indeed in the 21st Century, the long term legitimacy and effectiveness of the Security Council does necessitate that the Council of the 21st Century reflect the realities of the 21st Century, and not only the realities of the mid-20th Century. And in that regard, we are open to a modest expansion of permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council. We think it’s very important that that expansion not be too large, such that the Council loses its efficiency. And we don’t favor the expansion of veto rights beyond the current P5.

We very much appreciate that Brazil aspires to permanent membership of the Security Council and we acknowledge with gratitude Brazil’s increasing assumption of its global responsibilities across the spectrum of issues we’ve discussed today, including peace and security, human rights, support for democracy. And we look forward to continuing our discussions with Brazil and other key partners in the negotiations that are underway inside of the General Assembly, within the intergovernmental negotiation process on the expansion of the Council. And we do so with the recognition that the Council’s long-term legitimacy in the eyes of many people, in my country and around the world, would benefit from that sort of modest and pragmatic expansion.

With respect to Venezuela, the United States, first and foremost, is concerned about the situation that’s evolving and we hope very much that every effort will be made to avoid any violence and instability. We note that the election was very, very close, and that the opposition, and indeed initially the president, had indicated a desire for, an interest in, a hundred percent audit of the results in order to ensure that the outcome is one which all Venezuelans can accept. We still think that is a wise course and would reinforce confidence across the board in the outcome and also contribute as well to enhanced security and stability.

Moderator: (In Portuguese.)

Foreign Minister Patriota: (In Portuguese.)

Reporter: (Via Translator.) Good Afternoon, Eduardo de Agencia DF, Minister, returning for a moment to the topic of Venezuela, the huge difference right now in this moment, for example, with the United States, with many European countries, with the Secretary General of the OAS, is that a vote recount is necessary. I wanted to know if Brazil would support a vote recount, if Brazil would agree with the opinions of the OAS and the United States in this sense. And another thing, the Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa said yesterday, the day before yesterday, that it would be necessary for the Venezuelan democracy that all the presidents of the UNASUL countries participate in the inauguration of President Maduro this Friday, what is the (inaudible) will President Dilma go, and if not, why and who will go in that case?

Foreign Minister Patriota: (In Portuguese.)

Reporter: (Via Translator.) Good afternoon Ambassador, good afternoon Minister, Breno Costa, Folha de Sao Paulo. I would like to broach the topic of the attack in Boston, because it also has an impact here with regard to the expectations in Brazil in relation to carrying out big sporting events, the World Cup and the Olympics in 2016. Initially, I want to know, in relation to the aspects of big events, Boston prepared greatly to deal with an immediate response to a disaster, something totally effectively carried out (inaudible), are you able to perceive a similar type of preparation on the part of Brazil for big events, if it is something that in your evaluation can still be improved, and in what way, and as a member, an important member of Barack Obama’s Cabinet, if you know or have an opinion if the attack was something related to terrorism or if it is being maintained that…because today we have information that President Barack Obama, someone tried to hit him with a poisonous substance, and also, and also, do you see a return to the spirit of things after September 11th…(inaudible) excuse, last question, what issues did you address with Defense Minister Celso Amorim in your conversation?

Ambassador Rice: President Rousseff, Foreign Minister Patriota, Defense Minister Amorim and so many others from the Brazilian government and Brazilian society who have so generously extended their heartfelt condolences to the United States and to the American people, and who have conveyed solidarity with the United States at what has been a painful and difficult time. The expressions of friendship and support are very much valued by all Americans. And I wanted to take this opportunity to say “thank you,” publicly. Obviously, the, this is very early days, after the attack. And it would be well premature for me to characterize the motives or the perpetrators. I can assure you, as President Obama has said repeatedly over the last several days to the American people, that we are leaving no stone unturned to determine who did this and why and bring them to justice.

We are blessed, as you mention, that in Boston we have first class first responders and a high quality medical system. And we are all in our hearts and in our prayers with the victims and their families and the people of Boston in this very difficult time. Certainly, as we discover more and reinforce our own ability to prevent and respond to such incidents we will want to share whatever lessons we’ve learned in an open way with partners such as Brazil and elsewhere around the world that have a shared interest in our collective best efforts to ensure the security of high profile events of all sorts. And we look forward to doing that.

Foreign Minister Patriota: (In Portuguese.)

Reporter: Ambassador Rice, on Syria, does the United States think that the mandate of UN envoy Brahimi should be amended? And secondly, do you think it’s time for the Syrian seat, Syria’s seat, in the United Nations to be given to the opposition?

Ambassador Rice: We, the United States, has been very, very supportive of Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and his role as this Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League. We view his efforts as being valuable, his relationships, his expertise as being almost unmatched internationally. And we hope very much that in whatever capacity he deems appropriate he will continue to serve the international community, because we don’t think that the need for someone of his knowledge and expertise is going to go away, we expect that over time it will indeed increase. And we have conveyed our support repeatedly to Mr. Brahimi. We look forward to his discussions with us in New York on Friday. And we hope that he will be able to continue to serve in whatever capacity he and the Secretary General of the United Nations deem most appropriate.

I won’t get into the question of Syria’s credentials. The U.S. view is that President Assad, by virtue of his excessive violence against his own people has lost legitimacy. And we certainly have expressed our consistent support for a negotiated political solution. We have supported the Geneva communiqué of last summer, which envisioned the creation of a transitional governing council, comprised of opposition members and representatives from the government that are mutually agreeable and that would take over executive-- full executive authority during the course of the transition. That remains the U.S. desired outcome. And as we remain the largest provider of humanitarian assistance, over $385 million, and we remain supportive of efforts to unify and strengthen the moderate opposition. Our desired end state is that this end through a peaceful, negotiated settlement.

Foreign Minister Patriota: (In Portuguese.)

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PRN: 2013/056