'South America is priority for Brazil's foreign policy'
Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Wednesday that the priorities of her foreign policy is the integration of South America and closer relations with emerging nations like China, India and Russia, while at the same time maintaining "constructive relations" with the US and Europe.
"South America will continue to be the top foreign-policy priority of my government. I made that priority clear by choosing Argentina for my first trip abroad," Rousseff said in her speech at a Diplomat Day ceremony.
"There is no room for the strife and rivalries that separated us in the past. The countries of the continent have become valuable economic and political partners of Brazil," said the President, who took office on January 01 replacing her mentor, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.
Unlike other countries battered by the world economic crisis, those in South America had an average economic growth last year of 7.2 percent and became a "dynamic pole of world growth", she said.
She said another priority for Brazil are its relations with emerging nations of the group known as BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
She said she used the BRICS summit to send a "clear message to our strategic partners: we not only want to expand trade but also to diversify it. We're not ashamed to be a big exporters of raw materials but we want to expand our value-added exports".
At the same time, Rousseff said that Brazil will not give up its already good relations with the US and Europe.
In that regard she hoped that US President Barack Obama's recent visit to Brazil will serve to invigorate bilateral relations and give them an added dose of pragmatism.
Rousseff also used the speech to repeat Brazil's long-standing demand for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
"Reforming the UN Security Council is not a whim of Brazil. It reflects the need to adjust this important instrument to the correlation of forces of the 21st century. The big decisions have to be taken by organisations that are more representative and consequently more legitimate," she said.
The council currently has five permanent members - the US, Russia, China, Britain and France, each with veto power - and 10 rotating seats apportioned by region.