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Cablegate: Lula, Amorim Discuss Continuity, Iran, Venezuela

VZCZCXRO1682
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1218/01 2561344
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121344Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2414
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 7029
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5766
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 4214
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 6546
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7487
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0545
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8428
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 6575
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 2708

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001218

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR BSC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO ETRD PREL ECON BR
SUBJECT: LULA, AMORIM DISCUSS CONTINUITY, IRAN, VENEZUELA
WITH SENATOR HAGEL

1. (SBU) Summary: During separate meetings with Senator
Hagel, President Lula and Foreign Minister Amorim shared
common views about the need for the next U.S. Administration
to continue building on the remarkable progress achieved in
the past several years in bringing the two countries closer.
Both also focused their attention on Iran and Venezuela,
stressing that it was necessary to engage Iran, while
candidly indicating that it is the GOB,s hope to moderate
Venezuelan President Chavez,s actions through the various
integration mechanisms in South America. End summary.

2. (U) This cable is the first of five on Senator Hagel,s
August 31-September 2 visit to Brasilia and Sao Paulo.

------------------------------------
Bilateral Relationship Prospering
------------------------------------

3. (SBU) In the midst of a just-breaking scandal involving
the illegal wiretapping of high-level Brazilian government
officials by the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (septel) that
kept him in meetings all day, President Lula made time for
what turned out to be a long, frank, and productive
discussion with Senator Hagel focusing on the future of the
bilateral relationship. President Lula forcefully stressed
the need for continuity from the next U.S. administration
with respect to the growing partnership between the two
countries. President Lula remarked that he and President
Bush have laid the groundwork that succeeding presidents in
both countries can build on, adding that if he succeeds in
getting his anointed successor elected, the progress achieved
so far will continue and grow.

4. (SBU) Lula noted several areas in which the relationship
could continue to expand. He stated, &we should have a
U.S.-Brazil partnership on Africa,8 adding that Africa has
much the same climate as Latin America in which to produce
grain and biofuels. Africa is a prime opportunity for
U.S.-Brazil cooperation on agricultural projects to help the
world.

5. (SBU) He also noted, in response to a question on
enhancing military-to-military ties, that there needed to be
a real partnership, not just one where the United States
dictates terms to Brazil, adding, &why did the U.S. prevent
Brazil from selling Super Tucanos to Venezuela? All this did
was to push Venezuela to purchase Russian aircraft.8 In his
view, it is in the United States, and Brazil,s interest to
keep Venezuela dependent on Brazil rather than the Russians.
Lula noted that Washington &must show greater flexibility,8
in this area.

6. (SBU) Separately, in an unusually relaxed 75-minute
meeting, Foreign Minister Celso Amorim told Senator Hagel
that, in his view, the relationship between Brazil and the
United States &has prospered.8 The last six years, he said
have seen a new &engagement and a disposition for dialogue8
toward Brazil on the part of the United States. &The fact
that the United States is ready to listen to us -- even on
the Middle East,8 has created a &relationship of mutual
respect,8 one that &is very important8 and that &we hope
will be maintained.8

--------------------------------------------- --
Integration Key to Stability in South America
--------------------------------------------- --
7. (SBU) Regarding Latin America, Lula drew parallels between
how Brazil,s neighbors look at Brazil and how the world
looks at the United States. According to Lula, &Brazil is
seen by some as an imperialist8. Brazil,s approach is to
focus on achieving partnerships, and to understand other
leaders and help them. He drew on the example of Evo
Morales, who Lula noted, &is different8 and &comes from a
different background8. Lula added, &we can,t dictate to
Brazil,s smaller neighbors.8

8. (SBU) The United States needs a policy for Latin America
and South America, Lula continued, that will help, in his
words, &change your image8. Our bilateral association on
biofuels creates an important opportunity to increase

BRASILIA 00001218 002 OF 002


development in third countries.

9. (SBU) In the meeting with Amorim, Senator Hagel asked him
what he saw as the key challenges in Latin America.
Restricting himself to South America, Amorim said that he
felt there were no problems with regard to elections. There
is a general tendency toward a &deepening of democracy8 in
the region, he said, citing Venezuelan President Chavez,s
recent acceptance of the referendum results that did not
favor him. Briefly touching on inequality as the region,s
main challenge, Amorim went on to say that ¬ a day goes
by8 without him worrying about conditions in Paraguay,
Bolivia, and Ecuador. The GOB has been criticized, he said,
for the &patient8 and &non-confrontational8 way in which
it has dealt with problems with its neighbors. But he
believes the best way for Brazil to address these problems is
through greater integration. This is why they have invited
Venezuela to join Mercosul, he said, and he ascribed
Venezuela,s recent &silence8 about the United States in
part to Brazil,s efforts.

------------------------
&Iran is not a problem8
------------------------

10. (SBU) Asked about Iran, Lula stated that he did not see
the country as a problem and noted that Brazil needs to talk
to all countries. According to Lula, there appears to be
much more &talk and rhetoric8 than anything else on the
part of Iran. He added, &I am interested in visiting
Iran...I don,t know if we can work together but I need to go
to find out.8

11. (SBU) Amorim echoed similar thoughts, and added that
Brazil has a trade surplus with Iran, and that its exports
are mostly foodstuffs. (Note: Brazil exported $1.8 billion to
Iran in 2007 and imported about $11 million. End note.)
Amorim said Brazil has no major investments and no plans for
any, and has shut off all trade banned by the UN. On the
other hand, the GOB favors dialogue. He cited the recent
meeting with the Iranian government in Geneva, with a senior
U.S. representative in attendance, as a positive step.
Amorim also said that, Brazil finds it &difficult8 to
suggest that a country has no right to develop nuclear
energy. He feels that bringing Iran back onto a &good
track8 will require allowing them the prospect for
developing nuclear capabilities. Senator Hagel agreed that
engagement was essential. Amorim agreed with Ambassador
Sobel,s point that it is important not to reward lack of
respect for UN resolutions, but added that &engagement is
not a reward.8 It all depends on what results from the
engagement.


SOBEL

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