Saturday, March 19, 2011

Obama not keen on Brazil Security Council bid

U.S. President Barack Obama began a five-day trip to Latin America with a visit to Brazil. Although he acknowledged the country’s emerging political and economic power he stopped short of endorsing one of Brazil’s top diplomatic goals.

At a press conference with his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, Obama did not back Brazil’s bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council (UNSC). He did express “appreciation” for the bid and backed a reform of the UNSC in a joint statement with Brazilian officials. As part of the reform both governments called for a “modest expansion” of the UNSC.

In her remarks, Rousseff emphasized that reforming the UNSC would help in “the construction of a more multilateral world that will bring peace and harmony for all people.” Yet she seemed to be disappointed that Obama did not endorse Brazil’s campaign for a UNSC permanent seat. Rousseff underlined that her country’s bid was not “a minor interest of bureaucratic occupation of spaces” but would instead make it easier for the UNSC to reach peaceful resolutions.

It could be possible that Obama’s decision was affected by Brazil abstaining from backing the UNSC’s resolution authorizing the use of force on Libya. As Brookings Institution fellow Kevin Casas-Zamora noted, the president’s move may’ve had to more to do with preventing diplomatic problems between the U.S. and Mexico. In addition:
While Mexico has no hope whatsoever of landing a Security Council seat for itself, it nonetheless stands a fairly good chance of bringing most of Latin America around the conclusion that the current arrangement, whereby the region permanently has two rotating seats at the table, suits everybody just fine.
The primary goal of Obama’s visit to Brazil is to strengthen economic ties between both nations. "The goal today is ... essentially to make sure that we work to facilitate an effective dialogue," Obama said at a meeting with Brazilian CEOs.

Obama and Rousseff signed a number of trade and energy pacts including one key agreement for the U.S. to become "a strategic energy partner" to Brazil. Though Brazil has placed a greater emphasis on biofuels the South American country could become a major oil exporter with the development of several major offshore oil fields.

Image- AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais via (“U.S. President Barack Obama, left, with Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff, right, during their joint news conference in Brasilia, Brazil, Saturday.”)
Online Sources- NASDAQ, BBC News,, Toronto Sun, Council on Foreign Relations, USA TODAY, Reuters, Brookings Institution, The Guardian

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