Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024
Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Raquel Krahenbuhl of TV Globo

QUESTION:  Secretary Blinken, thank you so much for the interview.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s great to be with you.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Why don’t I start asking about a very important topic for both of our countries?  Democracy was one of the main topics between your meeting with President Lula.  And what do you think that the two countries can learn with each other in this process after the problems we’ve both had, the experiences?  And how do you think they can help each other, learn with each other, specifically, like, if you take into consideration, for example, disinformation?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, two things.  First, I was really grateful to President Lula for all the time that he spent and for the richness of the conversation.  And for me, representing President Biden, so much of this visit was about reaffirming the strong common agenda that the United States and Brazil have.  And what does that really tell us?  It tells us that in the – on the issues that matter most to people in both of our countries, whether it’s making sure that we’re dealing with the climate crisis, that we have a good energy transition, that we’re dealing with food insecurity and hunger, that we’re helping to lift people up with economic opportunity, that we’re protecting the rights of workers and labor, all of these things are so important to our people.

But they’re also the way that democracies demonstrate that they can deliver results.  The best way to protect and defend democracy is to demonstrate that we produce results for the people, and this is what the United States and Brazil are committed to doing together.  And the vision that President Biden and President Lula have on most of the critical issues of our time is very much the same.

Now, there are specific problems that you mentioned, like disinformation, misinformation, and this is something that we’re working on both in the United States but also with partners around the world.  What can we do effectively to combat it, to push back against it?  And this is also the subject of conversations between us and Brazil.

QUESTION:  Few days before you met with President Lula, he made a comment – and I’m going to quote him – “What’s happening…with the Palestinian people hasn’t happened at any other moment in history.”  And then he said, “Actually, it has happened” – sorry – “when Hitler decided to kill…Jews.”  You are a Jew.  Your stepfather was a survivor of the Holocaust or – Holocaust.  And I heard that you mentioned that to President Lula.  What do you personally feel about these comments, when your stepfather was so involved in trying to protect the memory of the Holocaust?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, look, first, as I said, almost the entirety of our conversation was focused on the shared agenda that the United States and Brazil have in trying to meet the problems that we have to meet.

QUESTION:  Yeah, but about that —

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  So – but we did talk about that as well.  And look, we have a real disagreement on that.  And friends can have real, profound disagreements on particular issues and continue to work on the many other things that join them together.  For us, as I said, it’s very clear that there’s no comparison whatsoever.  But I also know that President Lula is motivated by the suffering of people, and he wants to see it end.  So do we.  We have – we also have that in common.

We want to see the conflict in Gaza end as soon as possible.  We want to make sure that what happened on October 7th that was so unimaginably horrific never happens again.  We want to make sure that the suffering of Palestinians doesn’t happen.  So that means ending the conflict in Gaza and also finding a path to a better future – to a durable peace, durable security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

QUESTION:  Did you share your personal experience with the president of Brazil?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I did.  I did because, look, one of the things that we also have in common and that I so admire President Lula for is that he knows that the single – in some ways, the single biggest challenge we face, maybe the most potent poison in the common well that we have, is dehumanization, the inability to see the humanity in someone else.  When that happens, your heart hardens, and bad things become possible, good things become impossible.  I know that this – that President Lula is motivated by that, and I thought by sharing my own story, it’s also a reminder of the humanity that’s at stake.

QUESTION:  You said there is a genocide happening in Xinjiang; also last year declared genocide in Burma.  What is – what would be the definition of genocide?  What is different than what’s —

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, look, there are legal definitions of genocide, and that’s a long conversation.  But if there’s a clear intent to destroy or eliminate a particular group of people, that’s usually at its heart.  The point I was making yesterday was this:  We have to be concerned, all of us, about people who are suffering everywhere, and we also have to be concerned about any people that is being ethnically cleansed or is the victim of genocide.  We can’t have selective outrage, and we also can’t have double standards.  That applies to the United States as well as to countries around the world.

So we have to be focused on the suffering of the Israeli victims of October 7th.  Now, deep concerns about Palestinian men, women, and children who are caught in the crossfire of Hamas’s making.  We also have to have a concern for the Ukrainians who are on the receiving end of Russian aggression for the last two years.  But also if we’re going to do that, what about Rohingya?  What about Uyghurs?  What about Sudanese?  What about Tigrayans?  You can’t simply focus yourself on one particular problem.  You have to be open to doing whatever you can to try to resolve all of them.

QUESTION:  One of the main topics during the G20 was also the need of a reform of the global —

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Yes.

QUESTION:  — governance.  And yesterday Brazil linked the paralyzation of the UN Security Council to the death of civilians.  What do you think about that specific comparison, the analysis that the foreign minister of Brazil made?  And would the U.S. support Brazil on having a seat in this – in the international Security Council as you take into consideration Lula’s, for example, disagreement with the U.S. on conflict and this (inaudible)?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Look, we share with Brazil the need to reform and to bring up to date all of the international institutions to make sure that they’re actually reflective of today’s world, not yesterday’s.  Most of these institutions were created 80 years ago.  They don’t reflect current realities.  So the United Nations Security Council, it needs to be more representative of geographic diversity and the fact that countries today are in a different place than they were 80 years ago.  That’s why we support the expansion of the Security Council permanent and non-permanent seats to include from Latin America, to include from Africa.

Now, the specifics of who, all of that has to get worked out and it also involves countries in each different region.  But President Biden was very clear before the United Nations General Assembly last year that the United States not only supports this, but we’re working to achieve it.  And one of the things I shared with the G20 members now is that we want to use the rest of this year to find ways to practically advance that objective of actually having a Security Council that’s more reflective of the world today.

QUESTION:  In the Global South, in the world of today – let’s talk about the Global South because – where many countries are not – including Brazil – are not aligned with everything in the U.S. position.  So how much do you – does it – you think that this can threaten the U.S. stand or leadership in the world?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Actually, I have to tell you I think we’re aligned on the majority of issues.  Let me give you an example.

QUESTION:  But sometimes aligned with Russia or – Russia during the war on Ukraine.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, look, of course there are certain differences, but first on the heart of the G20 agenda during Brazil’s presidency, the United States is very much supportive of what Brazil is trying to achieve.  If we’re looking at how to deal effectively with climate change and the energy transition, that’s what we want to do as well.  And we’re not only saying we want to do it; we’re taking active measures to do it.  When we’re talking about dealing with food insecurity, the United States is a leader in that effort.  We’ve invested $17.5 billion under President Biden’s administration to deal with food insecurity.  And we’re working in partnership with Brazil, for example, to bring new technologies, including artificial intelligence, to ways of having seeds that are stronger and more resilient, soil that’s better, so that countries can grow more and grow more efficiently and produce for themselves.

When it comes to protecting the rights of workers, labor, President Biden and President Lula are, as we would say, joined at the hip.  We have a partnership on this.  Brazil and the United States together, including through the G20, are leading this effort.  And when it comes to the reform of the international institutions, including the Security Council, including the international financial institutions to make sure that countries have greater access to capital, to concessional lending, to getting rid of the debts that are burdening them, we are very much not only in the same place; we’re happy to be leading that effort along with Brazil and other countries.

Now, there are places that, of course, we have differences, but we work through them.  And one of the things that’s very clear from these meetings is that these issues of peace and security, we have to work on them, including as the G20, because if we don’t, if you’re not able to resolve these issues, everything else you’re trying to achieve becomes that much more difficult if not impossible.

QUESTION:  Does your visit here – your first visit to Brazil as Secretary of State mean that President Biden is coming next?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, I know that he would —

QUESTION:  Look at the beautiful place – why he hasn’t been here yet?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  I can tell you this:  I will – when I go back to Washington and report to the President, I’ll only reaffirm what he already knows from his visits here.  It’s a wonderful country, a wonderful place to be, a wonderful partner to have.  And so I’m sure he will look forward to that.

QUESTION:  Right.  You love music?  Maybe next time I can take you for some samba.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  You’re on.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Great.  Thank you very much, Secretary Blinken.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Thank you.

Official news published at https://www.state.gov/secretary-antony-j-blinken-with-raquel-krahenbuhl-of-tv-globo/

originally published at Politics - JISIP NEWS