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Brazil’s Lula meets the Queen

November 7th, 2009
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met the Queen on the last day of his visit to Britain, where he sought to drum up investment and signed an Olympic cooperation deal.

The meeting at Buckingham Palace followed talks Wednesday with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who penned a government-to-government agreement with Lula to share business expertise between the two Olympic host nations.

It will allow organisers of the 2016 Games in Rio to learn from London’s experience of hosting the 2012 Olympics, including on how to deliver a legacy that benefits the whole country.

“As this is the first time a South American country will host the summer Olympics, this agreement will establish a structured cooperation programme which will allow the UK and Brazil to share knowledge and experience,” a spokesman for Brown’s Downing Street office said.

The two leaders also discussed climate change ahead of a major UN-sponsored meeting in Copenhagen in December where nations will try to hammer out a new accord to succeed the Kyoto Protocol on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Lula late Thursday received an award from the prestigious Chatham House think-tank for making “the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations” over the past year.

The president urged authorities to implement regulatory reforms to prevent another global financial crisis, singling out an end to tax havens and protectionism.

“The small signs of improvement in the economy could mask the need for essential and profound reforms, without which humanity could return to crisis and even more severely than before,” he told the award ceremony, which included a gala dinner.

He also criticised the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for failing to predict the crisis. Although reforms of these institutions have started, they have been “excessively slow,” he said.

“They failed (the IMF and World Bank) because they didn’t predict or prevent the severe crisis that struck humanity.”

As part of the two-day visit, Lula earlier Thursday met with business leaders to urge them to invest in Brazil, saying it was a country with “enormous challenges” but huge opportunity.

Brazil officially emerged from recession in the second quarter of this year — unlike Britain, where the downturn continues — and is expecting full-year GDP growth of between 0.1 and 1.0 percent.

The government is aiming to boost investment to help achieve five- to six-percent growth in the next few years.

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