Luis Inacio Lula da Silva: 'We defend our national interests and our political values'

From a speech by the President of Brazil, in the presence of the President of the United States, delivered in Brazilia
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The Independent Online

When I was elected president, there were those who foresaw the deterioration of relations between Brazil and the US. They were roundly mistaken. On the contrary, our relations are going through one of their best moments ever. Economic and trade relations have expanded very much, and our political dialogue has gained a much higher quality.

We understand our economic and political importance as well as the responsibilities they imply. We defend our national interests and our general political values. Our self-respect strengthens our mutual respect. When each country values its own sovereignty, we are able to respect the sovereignty of other countries. We are two major, multi-ethnic democracies, with vocations for co-operating in promoting full citizenship and fighting all forms of discrimination.

The successful conclusion of the Doha round [of World Trade Organisation negotiations] by the end of 2006 is a priority for the United States as much as it is for Brazil. We agree that the reduction, with a view to the elimination, of agricultural subsidies will be a key to balance in that round.

For all of these reasons, we are very glad to see the US's willingness to include Brazil among those countries with whom it has a strategic and privileged dialogue. What we leave for history is more than our immediate decisions. What really matters are those initiatives that take into account future generations, as well as the need for us to face and overcome the major challenges of our time. Brazilian foreign policy transcends governments. And at the same time we defend our national interest, we pursue major democratic values in the international sphere.

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