BRASILIA, Brazil, April 18 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said governments that nurture open societies are more likely to achieve their targets than governments that suppress freedoms, risking security and stability of their societies.
Clinton told delegates at an international Open Government Partnership conference in Brasilia that future conflicts would likely be based less on geographical and religious divisions and more on the level of freedom enjoyed in a society.
High-level representatives from more than 60 nations, including observer countries, took part in the conference Monday and Tuesday, which coincided with bilateral talks between Brazil and the United States on increased collaboration. China isn't attending the talks but Russia is taking part.
"We believe that countries with open governments, open economies and open societies will increasingly flourish," Clinton told the delegates.
Clinton and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff jointly opened the OGP conference, the first since the forum was launched last year as part of an effort to promote global transparency and accountability.
Clinton said "one of the most significant divisions among nations" in the coming years will not be between geographical regions or religions but on the question of "whether they are open or closed societies."
Countries with open governments, open economies and open societies will increasingly flourish, "become more prosperous, healthier, more secure and more peaceful," Clinton said.
By contrast governments that "hide from public view" and dismiss people's aspirations for greater freedom and openness "will find it increasingly difficult to maintain peace and security," she said.
The OGP was founded last year on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Key members include the United States, Brazil, Britain, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines and South Africa.
U.S. officials said the Brasilia gathering has led to 42 more nations joining the group.
OGP says it seeks to promote partnerships beyond governments to embrace civil society and business.
More than 800 representatives taking part in the talks included representatives from more than 200 civil society organizations.
Brazilian Minister of State Jorge Hage said: "Open government means sharing responsibilities with civil society and strengthening democracy. Real democracy is not simply about having periodic elections, but making governments more accountable and transparent to citizens throughout their period in office," Rio Times reported.
Rousseff has been waging a war on corruption since coming to office last year but has faced resistance from her own inner circle as well as entrenched interests in the country.
U.S. policy experts attending the talks said the Obama administration has much catching up to do in Latin America after years of neglect, blamed on successive presidents' preoccupation with the Middle East.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar also visited Brasilia this week to promote tourism and discuss the minimization of visa requirements for Brazilians wanting to visit the United States.
From January through March this year U.S. consular authorities in Brazil processed 296,637 visas for the United States, a 56 percent increase.
"We want to continue working to attract and make it easier for Brazilians to come to the U.S.," Salazar said.