Brazil's Lula begins three-day state visit to Paris

13th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 13 (AFP) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrived in France on Wednesday for a jam-packed three-day visit focused on bilateral economic relations, cultural ties and reform of the UN Security Council.

PARIS, July 13 (AFP) - Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrived in France on Wednesday for a jam-packed three-day visit focused on bilateral economic relations, cultural ties and reform of the UN Security Council.

The trip marks Lula's second official visit to France since taking office in 2002 and comes amid political scandal at home, as his ruling Workers' Party (PT) stands accused of paying deputies to secure their support in Congress.

The Brazilian president was to meet with French business leaders on Wednesday in a bid to drum up investment. France is currently the fourth-largest foreign investor in the south American country.

Lula will be the guest of honour on Thursday at the traditional Bastille Day parade in Paris, which will feature Brazilian troops marching down the Champs-Elysees alongside their French counterparts.

The Brazilian leader will meet with French President Jacques Chirac on Friday, talks which French officials say will focus primarily on bilateral relations and UN reform.

Brazil, Germany, India and Japan -- the so-called G4 -- have introduced a draft resolution in the UN General Assembly seeking enlargement of the world body's Security Council, an initiative backed by 23 countries including France.

The draft envisages an expansion of the council from 15 to 25 members by creating six new permanent seats without veto power and four non-permanent seats. The United States has urged rejection of the text.

Lula and Chirac are expected to sign several agreements on Friday, including one on cooperation in the aviation sector and another on the construction of a bridge over the Oyapock river separating Brazil and French Guiana.

Brazilian military sources said Lula also would announce the purchase from France of 12 second-hand Mirage 2000 fighter jets for an estimated USD 60 million during his Paris visit.

Lula will also celebrate the Year of Brazil in France, a year-long program of cultural events, by attending a concert late Wednesday at the place de la Bastille, starring music legend and Brazilian Culture Minister Gilberto Gil.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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