Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
May 2, 2023
AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Good afternoon. I have just concluded some very important and productive meetings with the foreign minister, and also with the first lady, to reaffirm the U.S.-Brazil bilateral relationship and our partnership in the multilateral fora. As you know, I’m the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Brazil is on the Security Council, so engaging with them on important issues, multilaterally, are extraordinarily important.
This is a long-term strategic relationship that we have with Brazil. President Biden said during his meeting with President Lula in February that there are no limits to what our nations can achieve by working together. My meeting with the first lady today was incredibly warm and very welcoming. I congratulated her for the extensive work that she is doing as first lady, to promote the agenda of the president, but also promote her own agenda of supporting the people of Brazil.
And as the hemisphere’s two largest democracies, I think it is important that our two countries continue to work together to promote our values of democracy and human rights as we move forward to work on issues – both in the region and around the globe that are important to both of our countries.
QUESTION: Ambassador, the U.S. Government was concerned about recent statements of President Lula about the war in Ukraine. Was your meeting with Minister Vieira important to ease these concerns?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We did discuss this issue. I expressed, as the government has heard before, our disappointment in the statements that were made. But I will say that Brazil consistently voted for resolutions condemning Russia in the Security Council – as recently as February 23rd of this year, they voted for a peace resolution on Ukraine.
We encourage countries to engage on issues related to finding a solution to the war, but it is important that as they do that, they have to engage with Ukraine. We cannot move forward in a situation that leaves Ukraine out of the equation, so I recommended and encouraged and understand, that the government has engaged Ukraine and that there will be an upcoming visit to Ukraine in the coming weeks.
QUESTION: And how did China feature in the conversation today?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: It was discussed. Again, our position is that we don’t tell countries, sovereign countries, who to choose to partner with. What we’re here to discuss is our partnership – we have a very strong partnership with the country and with the people of Brazil. We have strong investments here in this country.
More than 700,000 jobs have been created by U.S. investments in Brazil, and equally, jobs have been created in the United States. And we continue to work with the country to ensure that the investments we bring here are not just some fluffy, flashy announcement, but bring real value to the people of Brazil.
QUESTION: Did you discuss Haiti, the increase of a new action of Brazil in Haiti’s –
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We did talk about Haiti. It’s clearly a priority for both of our countries. As you know, in the Security Council we have been addressing the issues there for some time. The Haitian Government asked for security support, and we are continuing to engage with Brazil, as well as other countries on the Security Council – as well as others outside the Council – on how we can more effectively support the security concerns of Haiti. But clearly Brazil is a key partner on that.
QUESTION: Ambassador, have you talked about Russia’s role in the Security Council and how the Security Council functions or not with Russia being a permanent member?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We did not discuss that issue today, but it’s an issue that we have been grappling with. As you know, Russia was president of the Security Council last month. We did not treat it as business as usual, and we will continue to isolate Russia and condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
QUESTION: And how is the support for Brazil’s permanent seat in the Security Council?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.
QUESTION: How is U.S. support for Brazil’s permanent seat in the Security Council?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We started a conversation last September that the President amplified during his address to the General Assembly. And the President announced clearly that we support Security Council reform, and we support Security Council expansion, to include both expansion in the number of permanent members as well as the number of elected members. And he very explicitly said that we support inclusion of countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Africa.
This is going to be a democratic process; it’s a process that we have engaged extensively in discussions. Following the President’s announcement, I’ve had a series of listening tours with countries to talk about the way forward. But we know that the way forward will require countries to come to some agreements, and those agreement will be through a democratic process. Thanks, everyone.