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Brazil just wants social talk at summit

Jan. 9, 2004 at 8:06 AM

BRASILIA, Brazil, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Brazil is adamantly opposed to discussing the proposed hemispheric trade bloc during an upcoming meeting of regional leaders in Mexico.

Leaders from 34 nations in the Western Hemisphere -- only Cuba is not invited -- are scheduled to meet in Monterrey, Mexico, on Jan. 12 and 13.

The declaration that Brazil would like the meeting to focus its attention on social issues and perhaps security came just hours before U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announced that President Bush would head to the Summit of the Americas intending to talk trade.

"In this upcoming meeting we are interested in just discussing social topics," stressed Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim on Thursday.

In Washington, Powell assured reporters Bush would arrive ready to talk terms for the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, the last meeting for which took place in Miami in November and ended with mixed results.

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