President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva (Retranslated from Russian): Mr President, esteemed ministers, members of the Russian delegation, members of the Russian Parliament, ministers accompanying me during this visit, ladies and gentlemen, Russian and Brazilian journalists,
It is a great honour and great pleasure to receive President Dmitry Medvedev here, in Rio de Janeiro, an old and wonderful city, the former capital of Brazil. President Medvedev’s first visit to our country has coincided with another memorable date, namely, the 180th anniversary of establishing Brazilian-Russian diplomatic relations.
Brazil and Russia are much closer than the geographic distance may imply. Both countries have huge territories and populations, intricate and large economies and unique cultures.
Our countries take part in international forums discussing the most important issues on today’s world agenda. We share commitments as regards the creation of a more equitable multi-polar world. We have signed an agreement stipulating strategic cooperation and an alliance in hi-tech development. We want to provide a new impulse for both cooperation venues.
Today, President Medvedev and I have noted the current promising stage in our relations. The bilateral trade turnover has more than tripled since 2003 and topped the $6 billion mark this September. Brazilian companies operate in Russia and export their products from Russia to neighbouring countries. Apart from Brazil, Russia is the largest consumer of Brazilian meat.
But our bilateral trade turnover and investment flows can and must expand still further. Apart from trading only raw materials, we must export the most expensive value-added goods. And I hope that our November 26 talks in Rio de Janeiro will further facilitate this movement.
Russia could supply equipment for new companies now being opened in Brazil. We also hope that Russia, an experienced railway builder, will help construct railways and the required infrastructure in Brazil.
As far as energy cooperation is concerned, we praise the decision of energy giant Gazprom to enter the Brazilian market and to cooperate with our Petrobras company. Russian representatives who attended an international bio-fuel conference mentioned the tremendous potential for cooperation in business and technology.
Russia and Brazil have started jointly developing space-satellite launch vehicles. We would like to exchange our bio-engineering and information technology experience with Russia.
We have signed a military-technical cooperation agreement that will enable us to continue our cooperation in the sphere of military technology development. And we hope that we will make headway in all these areas and will bring our nations closer together.
We believe that the November 26 agreement on visa facilitation regime will increase mutual tourist traffic. This will also help to open up our cultures to each other. The opening of the Bolshoi Theatre’s dance school in Santa Catarina State was a highly important step in this direction.
This concerns the professional training of Brazilian actors, the social mission of art and makes it possible to involve young people, including those from the poorest social strata, in creative activity. We can also speak about cooperation in football, the work of Brazilian coaches and the creation of a Brazilian football school in Russia’s Krasnodar Territory.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Several days ago, I met with representatives of various countries at a forum devoted to measures needed to overcome the current financial crisis. We decided that such countries as Brazil and Russia had a unique role to play in this process.
We must strive not to hinder production development and the more active extraction of natural resources. We must work together within the format of the International Labour Organisation, and we hope that Russia will be duly represented there.
Both countries agree that the UN, primarily the UN Security Council, must be promptly overhauled, and that the UNSC’s line-up must expand. I am very grateful to Russia for supporting Brazil’s aspiration to become a permanent member of a revamped UN Security Council.
President Medvedev and I also praise the creation of the BRIC group, which will become a good forum for dialogue and cooperation. Our countries represent an extremely powerful force during the discussion of global problems. We have great expectations in connection with the first BRIC summit, scheduled to be held in Russia in 2009.
Moreover, we praise closer cooperation between Mercosur member-states and Russia. New prospects for expanded political and economic dialogue are opening up. Our cooperation could encompass new areas and could facilitate South American integration.
Mr President, our comrade, colleague and friend,
We are delighted to observe the achievements of the Russian nation. We have a good knowledge of its history and culture, and we praise the achievements of Russian culture.
The Russian nation has proved to the entire world that it is prepared for self-sacrifice, is ready to overcome difficulties, and that Russia can be one of those countries that influence the world’s destiny.
Hence our striving for closer cooperation in the most diverse areas: We are determined to work together with Russia and for the sake of unbreakable friendship between our nations.
Once again, I would like to wholeheartedly thank President Medvedev for visiting our country. We regret very much that his visit was so brief, and that President Medvedev and his delegation could not stay here for a few more days and enjoy the beautiful sights of Rio de Janeiro, the Amazon River, Natal and those of our capital, Brasilia.
As a President of a leading country, Mr Medvedev has to leave us soon and to go to Venezuela. And I must go to Santa Catarina State and express my solidarity with its people shaken by a tragedy caused by destructive tropical rains that have killed 87 people to date.
At the same time, I would like to voice great satisfaction with the fact that I can tell the people of Brazil that every aspect of Russian-Brazilian relations will be strengthened considerably after the Russian President’s visit to Brazil.
We do not want to confine our trade turnover to raw materials. We must see to it that the bilateral trade turnover involves the industry, the hi-tech sector and oil production. In the long run, the crisis that began in the rich countries poses a certain danger to developing nations now accounting for 75% of global economic growth.
We, the developing nations, must prevent the crisis from impairing our economic development, reducing the number of jobs or hindering the creation of new jobs. Consequently, Russia and Brazil, together with other countries, primarily China and India, must team up to jointly overcome the crisis, to prevent the crisis from increasing the amount of tears, so that we experience true joy as we overcome it and so that we emerge from the experience stronger than we were before.
Thank you very much, Mr President Medvedev, thank you very much, colleagues and Russian representatives.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, esteemed Brazilian and Russian colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
I am happy to have this opportunity to meet with you and to speak once again about the results of our visit to Brazil. But before sharing my impressions, I would like to express our condolences for the tragedy in Santa Catarina, where floods have claimed many lives.
Our work in Brazil has affirmed the common commitment to strengthening Russian-Brazilian cooperation in all spheres, as my colleague, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has said, and to developing our relations into a strategic partnership. There are all the required prerequisites for this as well as a reliable historical and diplomatic foundation.
Just recently, this October, we celebrated 180 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. As the Brazilian President has justly said today, we must do more in the near future than we have done in the past 180 years. One of the reasons is the financial problems facing the world, including Russia and Brazil. The financial crisis, which did not begin in our countries or through our fault, is affecting development throughout the planet. We had to interfere, and did so at the recent G20 summit of the world’s largest economies in Washington.
We have agreed to coordinate actions with Brazil in overcoming the global financial crisis and in creating a modern architecture of international finance. It will not be a simple process. We have also agreed that our finance ministers will meet soon to discuss these issues, so that we coordinate our stands before the G20 summit in London in April 2009. I believe this is extremely important for our countries’ future and for global economic development.
During informal meetings today, as well as yesterday, we discussed trade and economic interaction. Brazil is Russia’s largest trade partner in Latin America and one of its main partners worldwide.
Mr President has said that our trade reached $6 billion. We may increase this figure this year and soon arrive at around $10 billion. However, our trade should not continue to develop according to the current, very simple, scheme, when we exchange commodities or Brazilian agricultural products for Russian mineral fertilisers. It should become increasingly based on high technologies and include new interesting projects.
I am referring above all to energy projects. During my meeting with Mr President, and before that during my visit to Petrobras, Brazil’s largest energy company, we agreed to step up cooperation in that sphere.
Other projects cover military technical cooperation. We have signed new documents and saw bilateral relations rise to a higher level. I hope they will continue to strengthen.
We can also join efforts in space exploration and telecommunications, according to a document we have signed. I believe that the goal of forming a technological alliance between Russia and Brazil can be achieved very soon.
We have agreed to encourage mutual investments in energy, which I have mentioned, and also in other spheres. We have the necessary mechanisms for this, including intergovernmental ones, but we should also stimulate cooperation within the Russian-Brazilian Business Council and between our largest companies. They should cooperate, creating new forms of business organisation and thereby promoting foreign trade.
We have discussed opportunities in banking and the financial sphere. We will have to take measures to prevent the crisis from destroying our achievements in mutual trade of the past years. We must create financial support mechanisms that will help us maintain the high level of our relations and strengthen them.
Russia and Brazil both have old cultures, and our cooperation in that area is developing very well. Special events have been held as part of celebrations of the 180th anniversary of our diplomatic relations in Russia and Brazil, attracting considerable interest. I hope this sphere of our cooperation will continue to make progress.
I must also mention our cooperation in sports, which is definitely dominated by football. We have great expectations of the Brazilian football schools in the Moscow Region and the Krasnodar Territory. We will not match Brazil’s achievements soon, but I hope Brazilian coaches will help us take Russian football to a fundamentally new level. We have much to learn from you in this sphere. I saw how our Brazilian friends love football when I visited the Maracana stadium, the most important sports facility in Rio de Janeiro, yesterday. Football in Brazil is not part of the national culture or sport; it is a religion and an extremely important element of cultural cooperation.
We will also develop tourism. The document on visa facilitation regime we have signed will allow Russians and Brazilians to visit each other’s countries for 90 days without a visa. It is a very important document paving the way to developing comprehensive relations in the tourist business and people-to-people ties.
Mr President and I highlighted international issues. We are coordinating our foreign policies, which is a matter of principle in the current situation and implies bilateral contacts and interaction with other countries, as well as the possibilities offered by the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) format.
We will hold a BRIC meeting in Russia next year. We expect to hold a full-scale summit with our friends from Brazil, China and India. We also expect the Brazilian President to make a return visit to Russia, at his discretion, which our diplomatic departments will coordinate.
On the whole, I want to say that the results of our work, which Mr President has described as intensive but short, have been very good. We have produced a block of concrete agreements, coordinated our positions on issues of concern for our countries and plans for the future, and discussed the development of bilateral relations in all spheres.
We did not have enough time to enjoy the diversity of Brazilian culture. Mr President has spoken so much about it, but we hope to be able to do so during our future visits, including visits between heads of state and between regions, as well as personal ties linking our two countries.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Brazilian President and our Brazilian colleagues for the excellent organisation of the visit, for our unforgettable impressions of your extremely beautiful country, but we have to continue our tour of Latin America.
Thank you, Mr President.