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Biden: Now's the time for stronger U.S.-Brazil ties

May 31, 2013 at 4:28 PM   |   Comments

BRASILIA, Brazil, May 31 (UPI) -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden ended his visit to Brazil Friday saying it is time the United States and Brazil become closer partners.

"I leave Brazil full of optimism about what we can accomplish together," Biden said after meeting with Brazilian Vice President Michel Tember in Brasilia. "This is a moment for relationships to begin to take on a different texture, a greater depth."

Tember, through an interpreter, said both countries are "very much interested in strengthening these ties ... ."

Tember said he and Biden addressed topics the visiting vice president also discussed with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Friday, including energy, technological innovation and "a program we are very proud of here in Brazil, which is the Science Without Frontiers."

Tember recalled a statement Biden made while visiting Rio de Janeiro about democracy and social development not being incompatible, saying the federal government could be involved in development while retaining "a high degree of preservation of individual rights."

Biden said U.S. President Barack Obama wanted him to stress the "importance that the relationship with Brazil has for us. That is why the first state visit of the second administration is to your president. We are pleased that your president has accepted the invitation."

"I hope 2013 marks the beginning of a new era in the relations between our two countries," Biden said.

Biden said he had a "wide-ranging discussion" with Rousseff.

"She's a leader who is literally laser focused on addressing the issues that matter most to the people of Brazil," he said. "And the good news is the issues that matter most to the people of Brazil are the issues that matter most to the people of the United States."

Biden's stop in Brazil wrapped up his six-day trip that included stops in Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago.

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