Clinton To Visit Brazil On Latin America Tour
By Dialogo February 26, 2010US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves Sunday for a tour of Latin America with stops in Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica and Guatemala, the State Department said Wednesday. A US drive for sanctions against Iran over its contested nuclear program as well as efforts to help Haiti recover from the devastating earthquake in January are likely to be major topics, officials said. Trade will also come up. In her fifth visit as chief US diplomat to countries south of the US border, Clinton will be in Uruguay on Monday for the presidential inauguration of former leftist rebel Jose Mujica, her spokesman Philip Crowley said. On Tuesday, Clinton will be in Santiago for talks with Chile's outgoing President Michelle Bachelet and president-elect Sebastian Pinera, Crowley told reporters. On Wednesday, Clinton will meet with Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Foreign Minister Celso Amorim in Brasilia, where State Department officials say she is likely to raise her concerns about Iran's nuclear program. Brazil, a member of the 15-member UN Security Council, has friendly ties with Iran, and hosted a visit by Ahmadinejad last year. Lula is to travel to Iran in May. Clinton will on March 4 visit Costa Rica where "she'll be the keynote speaker at the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas ministerial meeting," Crowley said. The initiative was launched by then US president George W. Bush and 11 Latin American leaders whose countries have signed free trade pacts with Washington. Clinton is also to meet separately with Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and President-elect Laura Chinchilla. Crowley said Clinton would make her last stop in Guatemala on March 5 for talks with President Alvaro Colom, as well as for a meeting with leaders of Central American countries and the Dominican Republic. The leaders will discuss a range of topics, including the aftermath of the devastating January 12 earthquake in Haiti.