Brazil says U.S. spat signals tough security reform

By William Maclean, Security Correspondent

GENEVA (BestGrowthStock) – Emerging power Brazil downplayed on Saturday a cooling of its relations with the United States following a disagreement on diplomacy toward Iran, but said the incident suggested reform of global institutions would be tough.

Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said opposition from big powers to a joint Brazilian-Turkish mediation effort on the Iranian nuclear dispute suggested they would resist changes to the global order, such as reform of the U.N. Security Council.

Speaking to reporters at a conference in Geneva of the transatlantic International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank, Amorim said the United States and Brazil had disagreed only on tactics on Iran, not on fundamental strategy.

“I don’t see any problem between President Lula and President Obama,” he said, referring to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Barack Obama.

“We have to be mature people and we have to understand that people, especially mature people who agree with the same objectives, … can disagree on tactics.”

Brazilian officials have complained in private that their good-faith efforts to revive a stalled nuclear fuel swap agreement in May were swiftly brushed aside with little regard for Brazil’s status as an emerging power.

Brazil and Turkey later voted against a new round of U.N. sanctions against Iran aimed at persuading Tehran to halt atom work that the West suspects is intended to develop an nuclear weapon. Iran denies it seeks such a weapon.

Amorim said he agreed with a statement at the conference by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg that Washington’s differences with the mediation attempt were to do with tactics and did not signal a divergence of interests or goals.

“REFORM WILL COME”

But in a debate on the growing global role of emerging powers such as Brazil, the minister told delegates that the dispute “shows how resistant major powers will be to changes (in the power balance in global institutions), it shows how difficult it will be to change the Security Council.”

“But reform will come to the Council one day, one way or another.”

India and Brazil, along with Japan and Germany, are seeking a seat on the U.N. Security Council, which they say now reflects an outdated post-World War Two global order. But a lack of consensus among current council members has stalled reforms. The United States wants Japan in the council, but China objects.

The so-called BRIC countries of Brazil, India, Russia and China, want more representation in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Steinberg told the conference Washington welcomed the growing role of the BRICs and other powers such as Turkey and South Africa, but that constant dialogue with Washington was needed to overcome differences.

“We do not see their rise as an inherent threat to our interests, but we recognize that cooperation will not come automatically and that we will inevitably face issues on which our interests diverge,” he said.

Washington had a “keen sense” of a need for reform of the Security Council, the world’s top security decision-making body, but a consensus did not yet exist about how best to change so as to sustain its effectiveness and improve its legitimacy.

“Because of the importance of the Council to us in dealing with issues such as Iran and North Korea, it’s not something we will change lightly,” he said.

(Editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Brazil says U.S. spat signals tough security reform