Cablegate: Ambassador Sichan Siv's Brasilia Meetings
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 BRASILIA 002129
USUN FOR JOHN DANILOVICH
STATE FOR USUN/W - MARY SUE CONAWAY
NSC FOR DEMPSEY, CRUZ
SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ECON PHUM KDEM AORC SOCI BR UNGA UN
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR SICHAN SIV'S BRASILIA MEETINGS
REFS: (A) Brasilia 1835
(B) USUN 1593
(C) State 152009
1. (SBU) Brazilian Foreign Ministry officials assured Ambassador Siv that Brazil will wholeheartedly back the USG TIP agenda item at the 59th UNGA, but sounded more ambivalent on the four other U.S. UNGA initiatives (Ref C). To Ambassador Siv's suggestion that UNHCR has become a group mingling "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of which Sudan, Zimbabwe and Cuba have no right to be members, Foreign Ministry Chief of Staff Patriota courteously demurred that individual nations "including Brazil" display their own good, bad and ugly aspects, and that Libya's positive evolution shows that engagement, not ostracism/expulsion, is the wise course. The Foreign- Ministry expert on President Lula's global anti- hunger/poverty project stressed that the aim of Lula's September 20 UN event is not to win endorsement of any particular text or design, but rather to raise the profile of world attention to the subject and gain a follow-up mandate to identify mechanisms that can be pursued multilaterally, to make development flows more stable, predictable, and sustainable. END SUMMARY.
2. (U) In Brasilia August 19, U.S. Representative to the U.N. Economic and Social Council Ambassador Sichan Siv discussed USG initiatives for the 59th UN General Assembly in an office meeting with Minister Maria Luiza Veotti, head of the GOB's MFA Human Rights and Social Issues Department, and over lunch hosted by Ambassador Danilovich with Foreign Minister Amorim's chief-of-staff Antonio Patriota and special advisor on President Lula's global hunger/poverty relief initiative Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo. In both meetings, Ambassador Siv detailed the USG's five main UNGA initiatives: Advancing Economic Freedom; Combating Trafficking in Persons; Promoting Democracy; Banning Human Cloning; and Reducing Middle East Resolutions (Ref C).
3. (SBU) Formerly based at the Brazilian UN Mission and less than two weeks in her new job, Minister Veotti was brief and general in most responses, readily volunteering that she was not yet conversant with details on all five items. On economic freedom, she said President Lula supports and has been active in implementing Monterrey Consensus principles and international cooperation to underpin economic freedom. She noted the record of GoB support for and participation in the Community of Democracies, but also tentative reservations about the idea of forming a democracy caucus in the UN, wondering whether that might upset the balance with which traditional UN groups work and introduce new polarity. She outlined GOB efforts to combat TIP and noted that the Foreign Ministry has formed a special unit to deal with the subject. About the Middle East, she reiterated that the GOB supports a balanced approach that addresses human rights without ignoring issues of terrorism. Finally, Minister Veotti noted that the GOB endorses human cloning for medical but not for reproductive reasons, and that a separate office has the Foreign-Ministry lead on the issue.
4. (U) A propos the TIP issue, Ambassador Danilovich took the occasion to mention that A/S Maura Harty is shortly due to visit Brazil. Ambassador Siv observed that in various nations there are many arrests of traffickers-in-persons but that subsequent prosecution was ineffective. Does Brazil have a central coordinator for this sphere? Veotti confirmed that the National Ministry of Justice was the authorized agent.
5. (SBU) Ambassador Danilovich hosted a subsequent lunch for Ambassador Siv attended by Foreign Minister Amorim's Chief of Staff Antonio Patriota and Special Advisor on President Lula's global hunger/poverty relief initiative Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo. With Ambassador Siv making the same exposition of the UNGA agenda points, Ambassador Patriota gave ready, meticulous overviews of those issues and others, as below.
-- Middle East: Ambassador Patriota registered the USG concerns about reducing the volume of motions, often repetitive and unconstructive, on the Middle East at the UNGA. He said Brazil is interested in trying to help "put hope back into the peace process," and noted that the MRE has just appointed, for the first time in Brazil's diplomatic history, a special roving envoy to the Middle East. In addition, Brazil now has a seated diplomat in Ramallah, Ambassador Bernardo Brito, a seasoned senior official known for "doing a good job in tough places," Patriota said. An MRE diplomat at the Minister-Counselor level is also now based in Amman, covering Iraq. Patriota further noted a recent meeting in which Norway's Foreign Minister and FM Amorim discussed working together on the Middle East, with reference to the early promise of the Oslo agreement and the potential synergy of "a small but developed nation working closely with a large, developing country" on some initiatives. Brazil is proceeding with its previous plans for a meeting in Brazil, probably in April 2005, of Arab nations, with a focus on economic and commercial issues, Patriota said. He acknowledged the potential for political polemics and anti-Israeli diatribes, but said the GOB would work hard to discourage and minimize such rhetoric. The GOB is considering inviting Iraq, he added.
-- Africa: In response to an appeal by Ambassador Siv for Brazilian support in helping ameliorate instability and poverty in Bissau, Minister Maria Nazareth Farani outlined a new Brazil-India-South Africa joint initiative there, aimed at technical and financial assistance to build productivity especially in agriculture. The initiative is the first of a series for Africa that Brazil is discussing with South Africa and India. While relatively modest in scope, the project signals Brazil's concern about the extreme misery and restive military in the Portuguese- speaking country, Patriota added.
-- Haiti: Patriota had just returned from accompanying FM Amorim and President Lula to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and he expressed glowing satisfaction with the success and symbolism of the previous day's famous soccer match between Brazil and Haiti, attended by Lula and his retinue. The game was symbolic of the "genuine affinity and dialogue" between Haitians and Brazilians that is helping facilitate MINUSTAH's work, he said. He further noted that feelings within Brazil had been mixed with regard to Brazil's leadership of MINUSTAH, with criticisms of the mission having come from the far-left of Lula's ruling PT party. The success thus far of Brazil's PKO effort has "vindicated" the position adopted by Lula and Amorim that Brazil had a responsibility to help if it could.
-- UNHRC and democracy initiatives: Patriota respectfully demurred at Ambassador Siv's characterization of UNHRC having deteriorated into a collection of "the good, the bad and the ugly," with some infamous rights violators now using member status in the forum to torpedo resolutions and actions against them. Patriota said the GOB took the view that there is good, bad and ugly in each nation, "including Brazil," and that efforts should be made to rehabilitate, not just confront. He noted Libya as an example of a nation that had transformed from pariah status to collaborator with the world community. Brazil would continue to oppose single-country resolutions and wants to explore mechanisms for broad "objective" reporting on problem areas by the UN.
-- Human cloning: Patriota noted that Brazil currently has "some differences" with the U.S. and said the issue is still not ripe for comprehensive discussion. (Note: Brazil officially opposes reproductive cloning but would consider leaving an avenue for therapeutic cloning. However, domestic legislation currently in Brazil's Congress could change GOB policy to that of blanket prohibition. End Note.)
6. (SBU) Regarding Brazil's global hunger/poverty initiative, Farani stressed that President Lula's September 20 New York event aims not for any final endorsement either of the text that Lula will present or of any specific financing or other mechanism. Rather, the GoB aspiration is to raise the profile of world attention to this sphere and establish a follow-up mandate to identify mechanisms that can be followed multilaterally. "There are enough resources (for aid), but (they are) not being devoted to development... Getting this on the agenda could mean a healthy increase in attention. we are trying to discuss mechanisms that exist already and are doable... We're aware of the positions you have on certain issues," Farani said, without explicitly citing international taxation. The ultimate need is for resources to be stable, predictable and in greater volumes so as to allow for a solid development strategy - rather than the present "ad hoc and at times arbitrary funding" that impedes development from being predictable or sustainable, in Farani's words.
7. (U) By the GoB's latest count, fifty-one countries, forty-eight to be represented by heads of state, and twelve international agencies will attend Lula's September 20 announcement, Farani said. Confirmed interest is so great, she went on, that the GoB organizers are having to think of a new format, since there will be, e.g., no possibility for every head of state to make an individual presentation, as originally projected.
8. (U) Aside from these meetings, Ambassador Siv during his Brasilia sojourn gave an interview to national daily 'Estado de Sao Paulo' which printed an article the next day, and attended with Ambassador Danilovich a GoB memorial service for Brazilian-born UN diplomat Sergio De Mello on the anniversary of the Baghdad bombing that took the lives of de Mello and 21 other UN workers. Rio daily 'O Globo' printed Ambassador Siv's personal tribute to de Mello, his former colleague in Cambodian refugee resettlement in the early 1990s, in the form of an August 20 OpEd.