France, Brazil Seek Unity Ahead Of G-20

By Dialogo
April 01, 2009

The presidents of France and Brazil urged greater regulation of the world's financial markets and vowed Wednesday to work together toward such measures at the G-20 summit. President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters at a Paris news conference with Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva that both hope to achieve "a minimum of regulation, considering the disaster that deregulation has represented." Silva hammered in the point, saying, "We are all conscious that the turbulence that we are living through is the consequence of a lack of regulation and a lack of responsibility." He said the two also agreed there was a need to crack down on tax havens, which he called "almost immoral" and said were "inadmissible in a world in which billions are living below the poverty line." Silva, a former union leader who is largely seen as a moderate, emphasized it was up to the participants at the London summit to fix the system so that poor countries do not suffer unduly. Sarkozy said he wanted the Group of 20 summit in London to achieve concrete results and not just set a date for another meeting. Sarkozy has even suggested he might walk out of the summit if its participants — the world's leading rich and developing countries — fail to find a meaningful agreement on regulation and other issues. Sarkozy underscored the importance of France and Brazil presenting a united front at the summit. "Together, we are conscious that if we speak with one voice and if we advance together, we are stronger," he said. Silva said "neither President Sarkozy nor myself wants to assume responsibility for a failed summit." Silva called the G-20, which kicks off Wednesday evening, "a meeting between friends," but acknowledged "it will be a difficult meeting because all of our friends don't think in the same way." The two leaders were slated to leave for London later Wednesday. Sarkozy said they would meet again Sept. 7, when the French president visits Brazil. Both leaders said their talks, held over lunch at the Elysee presidential palace, had also touched on bilateral defense and development issues. Before Wednesday's talks, Silva's spokesman Marcelo Baumbach said military cooperation would also be on the table. Brazil's air force is considering buying 36 Rafale fighter jets from France's Dassault SA. United States-based Boeing and Sweden's Saab AB are also competing for the potentially lucrative deal, which could lead to the purchase of as many as 100 jets as Brazil revamps its air force. The two countries are also working to foster sustainable development of the Amazon rain forest along the border shared by the Brazilian state of Amapa and French Guiana, a French overseas territory.