Obama launches Latin America tour in Brazil
US President Barack Obama was given a red-carpet welcome to Brazil on Saturday beginning a five-day Latin American trip as United Nations-backed military strikes against Libya seemed imminent.
Brasilia: US President Barack Obama was
given a red-carpet welcome to Brazil on Saturday beginning a
five-day Latin American trip as United Nations-backed military
strikes against Libya seemed imminent.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff greeted Obama, who
received full honours including a 21-gun salute when he and
First Lady Michelle Obama entered the Planalto Palace in the
Obama has US jobs on his agenda during the
three-country trip that includes stops in Chile and El
"Latin America is a part of the world where the
economy is growing very quickly," the president said in his
weekly radio address broadcast just minutes before his
"I want to open more markets around the world so that
American companies can do more business and hire more of our
people," he said.
Before the meeting in the presidential palace, Obama
and Rousseff signed an agreement to reduce trade barriers and
facilitate investment between the two countries.
Obama`s trip also was designed to re-engage in a part
of the world that some say was overlooked by his predecessor,
George W. Bush.
But world events including the Libyan rebellion and
the nuclear disaster in Japan may overshadow Obama`s trip.
The UN Security Council on Thursday approved military
action to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, to protect
civilians from strongman Moamer Kadhafi`s forces.
European leaders were meeting Saturday in Paris to
discuss the imminent action. US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton was attending the summit.
Obama is accompanied on the trip by his wife, their
daughters Sasha and Malia, the president`s mother-in-law
Marian Robinson, and Eleanor Kaye Wilson, the girls`
In Brazil, he plans to highlight an amazing economic
leap which has lifted millions from poverty and won a new
global influence that Rousseff seems keen to wield.
The trade agreement signed Saturday highlights the
"desirability of reducing non-tariff barriers and trade
distorting subsidies" Brazil`s Foreign Ministry said. A
bilateral commission will hammer out the details.
In Chile, Obama will cite that country`s evolution
from authoritarian misery to increasingly prosperous democracy
as an example for Middle Eastern nations emerging from