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Remarks by the President at reception in Brasilia

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Office of the Press Secretary
(Brasilia, Brazil)

For Immediate Release October 13, 1997


Brasilia Room
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Brasilia, Brazil

8:22 P.M. (L)

PRESIDENT CARDOSO: Mr. President, Mrs. Clinton, ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here tonight to celebrate a renewal of the friendship between Brazil and the United States of America. Welcome to Brazil, Mr. President. Welcome to Brazil, Mrs. Hillary Clinton.

We welcome you with the interest that is naturally awakened in us by the visit of the President of a great nation, who serves as the representative of a friendly people with whom we share fundamental values and converging views on countless contemporary issues and challenges.

We welcome you as well, Mr. Clinton, as head of state of our principal trading partner, whose importance for our external sector is steadily increasing, thanks to the many new business and investment opportunities Brazil is now offering its partners. We're delighted that you will be visiting not only the capital of Brazil, but Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro as well. We hope that by doing so you will secure a fuller understanding of Brazil's vibrant democratic institutions, strong citizenship, stability, transparency in managing the nation's assets, reforms, openness, and growth.

In relations between states, there is no substitute for first-hand knowledge, personal observation, and contact with the people and living forces of a country. This is particularly true of the Brazilian people, who always extend a warm and open welcome to visiting statesmen.

For this reason, your visit introduces a very important element into the positive relationship that Brazil and the United States have developed over decades and that has taken on a new significance under both of our administrations. It has been more than two years since my own state visit to Washington. Since then, both we and the public have shown keen interest in keeping abreast of the success of the many items of the agenda we agreed to on that occasion, when Brazil and the United States solemnly but enthusiastically resumed their grand partnership.

We are now ready to take another step in the history of the relationship between Brazil and the United States. From the innovative cooperation we are beginning to develop in the field of education, to discussions with the view to creating a free-trade area in the Americas -- an ambitious goal that we share -- our agenda is guided by shared objectives while allowing ample room for the

expression of our distinct individualities and our legitimate interests.

Not infrequently, our interests do not entirely coincide. Sometimes they may even conflict. Today, however, we are

in a position to deal with this reality more capably than ever before in the history of our relationship.

The excellent relations between our two nations are actually and symbolically summed up in this further meeting of the Presidents of the two countries. This meeting enables us to commemorate our joint achievements, while renewing our commitment to further initiatives and additional success in the same spirit of confidence that should necessarily permeate any mature relationship between two great countries of continental dimensions.

This meeting, Mr. President, is an opportunity for us to reaffirm to our peoples and to the peoples of our hemisphere and of the world the key notion that Brazil and the United States together can help to build a history of liberty, mutual respect, development, and peace in the New World.

We have been allies in two world wars and we have been peacetime partners for over a hundred years under an unwritten alliance forged by such noteworthy leaders as Rio Branco, Joaquim Nabuco, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Cordell Hull (phonetic), and Oswaldo Aranha.

That explains our strong vocation for friendship, understanding, dialogue, and cooperation. That is why we are capable of speaking the same language. Whether we agree or disagree, it makes no difference, because we always seek to reach an understanding.

The joint initiative in education, which we will unveil during your visit, Mr. President, is a symbol of how we can work together to carry out projects of inestimable impact on Brazilian social development and on the relations between our two countries.

Mr. President -- President Clinton, you and I plan to have extended conversations on our joint agenda, the many issues on which we see eye to eye, and a number of problems we face in specific areas of trade. The outcome of this visit will undoubtedly be a firm commitment to continue our cooperation in order to make the relationship between the United States and Brazil ever more productive and dynamic.

Furthermore, we will continue pursuing the broad and candid consultations that have underpinned our participation in a number of significant regional and international initiatives, such as the FTAA, the reform of the United Nations, and the consolidation of the World Trade Organization.

In this context, Mr. President, let me recall that the age of economic globalization in which we are living brings nations closer together. Therefore, inspired by the American Revolution, whose Constitution enshrined the rights, borders, and autonomy of the states that formed the federation, it is our duty to defend ourselves and guarantee the rights of nations -- of each and every nation, from the most powerful to the weakest, from the richest to the poorest. Only then will we inherit the spirit of liberty and democracy that unites us in the same values.

Hitherto, international law has been grounded above all in processes designed to accommodate the interests of different sectors, expressed by attacks and contrast. The time has come for us to move ahead in the international order in pursuit of a configuration based on a broad consensus, in a de facto constitution that protects the cultural diversity, frontiers, and sovereignty of nations and peoples.

The new global order cannot be imposed; it must be shared. It must not demolish but rather foster the well-being of


This, Mr. President, is the challenge that we face -- you, I, everyone responsible for the destiny of our nations. I hope you, President Clinton, will take away from this visit a comprehensive and accurate picture of Brazil, and that your stay among us will contribute to an enhancement of the understanding between our two countries. So let us work together with the certainty that friendship between the United States and Brazil will foster understanding throughout our region and progress for our peoples.

May Brazilian hospitality be the best form of greeting for our honored guests today. Welcome, Mr. President. (Applause.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON: President and Mrs. Cardoso, members of the Brazilian government, my fellow Americans, honored guests -- let me say, on behalf of all of us who are here, it is wonderful to be in Brazil, but it is especially wonderful for me. I have wanted to come here for a long time, and even more since Hillary returned from her fantastic visit here.

When President Cardoso made his state visit to the United States, I pledged to return the favor. And finally, the day has arrived, and I am in the City of the Sky, glad to be here. Thank you.

Brazil has haunted my imagination for over 30 years, since I first fell in love with your music as a young man. And Brazil has loomed large in my vision of the future of this hemisphere and the world since I became President.

I come to Brazil to strengthen our partnership in a spirit of respect and equality, a partnership rooted in common values and common aspirations.

We have been friends in freedom for a long time. In 1824 the United States was the first nation to recognize Brazil's independence. In World War II, Brazil stood by America's side on the battlefields of Europe with a force of 25,000 troops to fight for liberty's survival.

Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, the freedom we cherish is ascendant. Every nation in our hemisphere but one is a democracy. Open markets are taking root. Cooperation and trade are expanding. We have an opportunity to make all the Americas a stronghold of freedom and prosperity, of peace and security, advancing our own well-being and serving as a beacon of hope to others.

With the largest populations and the largest economies in the Americas, sharing both the virtues and the challenges of our size and our diversity, Brazil and the United States both have a special obligation to lead this historic revolution now under way in the Americas.

I applaud President Cardoso, his government, and the Congress for all you have done to put your country squarely on the path to prosperity, with difficult decisions on economic reform. I hope your reformers and our actions to balance our budget for the first time since 1969 will lay the foundation for a new burst of growth and opportunity throughout our region.

I hope we can work even more closely together to lift the lives of our people -- by creating new jobs through open markets and open trade, improving education to enable all our children to thrive, expanding access to modern technology to connect all our people to the information age, combatting drugs and organized crime,

protecting the wonders of our shared environment, and helping our neighbors throughout the hemisphere to resolve their conflicts peacefully.

Already Brazil has given so much to the United States. You have given us artists like Candido Portinari, whose murals hang in our Library of Congress in Washington; innovative writers like Jorge Amado; and explorers from Alberto Santos Dumont, the father of aviation, to the Brazilian astronaut who will soon come to NASA to train for the international space station. You have given us athletes -- from the magnificent Pele to the World Cup champions who made Los Angeles feel like Rio for a day.

And no matter what language our people speak, you have given us all reason to sing -- from the batucada of Bahia to the bossa nova, from the rhythm of samba to the rock of tropicalismo, from the quiet choro to the lively forro.

In Brazilian music many influences come together to form something wonderful and unique. In the same way, the rich diversity of your people and the American people make both our nations special and strong.

Both of us have a long tradition of welcoming immigrants from distant shores who want to build a better life for their children. We share a belief that we can live together and learn together, work together and grow together, no matter what our color, our creed.

In a world where nations are still torn apart because some people fight over their differences when they should respect, accommodate, even celebrate them, Brazil and the United States have a special ability and a special responsibility to show a better way.

Mr. President, as we reach for the future, America reaches out to Brazil with a hand of friendship and a pledge of partnership. We share a vision of a better tomorrow. When I first met you shortly before you were inaugurated President, I said to myself, there is a person who can imagine the future; I hope we will build it together.

Thank you. (Applause.)

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