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US, Brazil, and Guinea-Bissau Signing Ceremonies

Remarks from the Signing Ceremonies Between the U.S., Brazil, and Guinea-Bissau and the U.S. and Brazil

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 30, 2007

(12:20 p.m. EST)

MODERATOR: Madame Secretary, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests: It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Department of State's Treaty Room. Today, Secretary Rice, Brazilian Foreign Minister Amorim and Guinea-Bissau Foreign Minister Monteiro will sign a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation among the Governments of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau and the United States of America on a legislative strengthening of Guinea-Bissau. The Secretary and the Ministers will now sign the Memorandum.

(The Memorandum of Understanding was signed.)

MODERATOR: The Secretary and the Foreign Minister Amorim will now sign a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on education between the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the United States of America.

(The Memorandum of Understanding was signed.)

MODERATOR: Secretary Rice will now deliver remarks, followed by remarks by the Brazilian Foreign Minister and the Foreign Minister of Guinea-Bissau.

SECRETARY RICE: I think we have you, Minister Monteiro, here.

I am pleased to join my colleagues here today, the Foreign Minister of Guinea-Bissau, the Foreign Minister of Brazil, to sign these two important Memoranda of Understanding: the first, which we signed last, to renew the U.S.-Brazil partnership in education; and the second, to advance our common support for democracy around the world, in this case with Guinea-Bissau.

Brazil's commitment to democracy has helped to put its residents on a path toward a better life, toward a future of prosperity and social justice for its citizens. We all know that educated societies are the most successful societies, so today we are agreeing to work together to build on the educational advancements we have already experienced. This is another area where the United States and Brazil have a great deal to share and learn from each other.

Since in the inception of the partnership in 1997, the U.S. Departments of Education and State have worked together to promote the sharing of information, teacher training and exchange programs with Brazil. In particular, the partnership has resulted in 90 different types of exchange programs, benefiting over 500 people. By renewing our partnership today, Minister, we look forward to many new alliances of learning that can build bridges between our people.

As Brazil continues to realize the promise of democracy and development at home, we look to it as a regional leader and a global partner to use its growing influence to help other young democracies around the world. So it gives me great pleasure to sign this Memorandum of Understanding between the United States, Brazil and Guinea-Bissau.

Guinea-Bissau has made real progress in consolidating its democracy during the past four years and it is a deserving recipient of this assistance. To combine our common interests in a democratic and prosperous Africa, the United States and Brazil have agreed to continue our efforts to help Guinea-Bissau strengthen its parliamentary system and to govern ever more justly on behalf of its people.

This specific initiative derives from a conversation that President Lula and Foreign Minister Amorim and I had during a visit that I made to Brazil two years ago. President Lula had just returned from a trip to Africa and he suggested that the United States and Brazil look for innovative ways to cooperate and help African countries address issues of governance, health and education. So much of this good work is carried forward by our partner institutions like Interreligious and the National Democratic Institute. I am pleased that representatives of NDI are joining us here today.

This is just one example of the global partnership that we must continue to build between our two great democracies Celso, a partnership defined not just by how we relate to each other but by the good that we do together. Our nations are an example to the world that large multiethnic, multireligious and multicultural societies like Brazil and the United States can live together, indeed thrive and prosper together, in peace, not despite our diversity but because of it.

So let us continue to support all nations across the world that are working to secure the same principles of freedom, democracy and prosperity for their own people. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

FOREIGN MINISTER AMORIM: Madame Secretary, Mr. Foreign Minister, it gives me great pleasure to be here today for our conversations, Madame Secretary, but also for these two agreements. In their respective ways, they are both very symbolic. The agreement on education is really an agreement focused on quality and on technology, how to improve the indicators to be sure that we have education, not only education for all but education of very good quality and education that has direct impact on our progress and our development. And this is done through good cooperation between your community colleges and the technical schools in Brazil. So I think this is a very important agreement and I'm very glad that our Ministers of Education were able to allow us to sign them today.

But the other agreement that we just signed between Brazil, U.S. and Guinea-Bissau is really very symbolic. I think people, especially my friends of the media in Brazil will be tired of hearing me saying that some events are historic, but I really think that this picture today -- I don't know if it will be published by the media, but I'll certainly want to keep it for my archives because it's really a very good example of something that is really new. And that's a cooperation between the most powerful country in the world, one of the biggest development countries in the world to help one of the poorest and smallest countries in the world, the sister nation of Guinea-Bissau to which Brazil is so much attached.

You already defined the objective of the agreement so I don't want to expand on that, but I think it's really a very important occasion and I'm really very glad and really honored. And I would say more than that, I'm really moved that we were able to do that. Thank you. (Applause.)

FOREIGN MINISTER MONTEIRO: Thank you. Madame Secretary Rice, Foreign Minister Amorim, ladies and gentlemen, we are very much -- I would say the people of Guinea-Bissau are very much honored and delighted being a part of this process. And I would like to take this opportunity to express how deep is our gratitude to the United States of America and Brazil for joining and in helping Guinea-Bissau. If there is any country among the three countries who just finished signing this agreement which should be proud and be grateful, it is Guinea-Bissau.

As the Minister Amorim said, we are a very small country but we have been doing everything we can to deserve this international solidarity and especially the solidarity from the United States and Brazil. And we would like to keep working very hard to deserve the solidarity. That's very important to deserve it because the size of our country to be on the agenda of the United States and Brazil is something which we're going to keep in our mind for the rest of our lives. And the people of Guinea-Bissau will keep working hard to build a peace and to consolidate this democratic process with the help of United States and Brazil.

So we could not ask more than that and we are very grateful and very moved also. I don't want to go along with much words, and God bless, peace in the world and God bless America and Brazil for helping Guinea-Bissau to build a peace and democracy throughout the world. Thank you. (Applause.)

MODERATOR: This concludes our ceremony. Thank you very much.


Released on March 30, 2007


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