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U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Transcript

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Brazilian Minister of Defense Celso Amorim April 24, 2012

Joint Press Conference with Secretary Panetta and Brazilian Minister Amorim in Brasilia, Brazil

DEFENSE MINISTER CELSO AMORIM [Brazil]: (Translated.) (Inaudible.) Well, good afternoon, everybody. Once again, in the presence of the members of -- media we welcome the secretary of defense of the United States, Mr. Leon Panetta. This is an extremely important visit -- (off mic.) -- statement from President -- (off mic.).

But anyway, we have just finished, we conducted an open meeting according to the spirit of the new defense cooperation dialogue which has been established in the joint declaration of the president.

I would say that our dialogue today -- if I could simplify, our dialogue has two parts. A first part involving the basic view of each country on issues that have to do with defense and a very summarized fashion they have been presented. As for instance -- and as bilateral cooperation is part of this context and also as part of the context of regional cooperation. After that, we discussed specific cooperation issues… a proposal for new agreements.

On my side, I stressed the importance for Brazil, the relationship with the United States regarding technology transfer, always stressing that when we talk about transfer, we’re not talking about donation but access to technology. And I think that I was well understood in what I tried to say.

Also I expressed the major interest of our country of having a dialogue with Secretary Panetta on broader issues and it is included in the joint declaration, which concerns not only dialogue on bilateral issues but also security and defense around the world. I would also like to say that considering the time limitation, it was a very substantial conversation. I would say that we have begun this dialogue, including the explanation of the vision of each country on certain specific situations which are of a global interest. I would now ask Secretary Panetta to mention these issues.

I would like to say that basically that’s what it was, a very frank and candid dialogue. We discussed specific issues of our respective interests. We all know about them. I would just like to also -- Secretary Panetta invited me to visit him in Washington, and I accepted his invitation promptly and all that we need to do is to find a convenient date because it certainly will allow us to continue the dialogue and to even examine agreements which have been proposed for which we have not had the possibility of specific reactions right now. That’s what it was. And after that, we will entertain questions. Thank you.

So, once again, welcome, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LEON PANETTA: Good afternoon. It is truly an honor for me to have the opportunity to visit here in Brazil. And I want to thank Minister Amorim for his kind words and thank him for his hosting me here in Brasilia.

I’m honored to be able to make my first visit to Brazil as the United States secretary of defense and to be the first secretary of defense in seven years who has made the trip to this great nation. Brazil is a global power. Brazil is a positive force for stability not only in the Americas, but across the world.

For that reason, it is a privilege for me to be able to come here to Brasilia to conduct the first defense cooperation dialogue with Minister Amorim, a dialogue that both of our presidents signed and supported. This dialogue was established by President Rousseff and President Obama earlier this month in Washington and it reflects, I think, how our defense cooperation has advanced over the last four years and the priority that we are placing on building an even closer defense relationship in the future.

The minister and I both welcome the fact that the links and engagements between our two militaries are growing steadily and are at the closest point since both of our nations fought alongside each other in World War II. But still, both the minister and I recognize that we have an opportunity to work even more closely and to cooperate on a broad range of issues. To that end, in this inaugural defense cooperation dialogue, we discussed a number of priority areas, as the minister indicated, that I believe hold some great promise for enhancing our cooperation between the two nations.

Let me just mention some of those: expanding our joint scientific research in defense; exchanging more information on cyber security -- a whole new arena that I think both of our nations are concerned about as to how we can effectively defend against those potential attacks; boosting our collaboration on humanitarian assistance and on disaster response capability. Brazil has performed an outstanding role in Haiti. I commend them for the work that they’ve done there. They have learned a lot lessons with regards to humanitarian aid and we look forward to be able -- to being able to share those lessons and to build an even greater cooperation in this area in the future.

And working together to build the capacity of our security partners in Africa as well. Africa is an area of the world that concerns Brazil, it concerns us, and we think there is great potential there for both of us to work together in that region.

The minister and I also discussed our shared desire to expand our already significant two-way trade in advanced defense technology. We think Brazil is a very important partner in that area. We continue to look for ways to improve the technology that we share with Brazil so that it can provide -- hopefully, Brazil can provide jobs and opportunities for its people as we provide jobs and opportunities for ours.

The best example of this is the entry of the United States into the Brazilian Air Force’s F-X2 Competition. We’ve made a strong offer to provide the Super Hornet aircraft -- it’s an advanced aircraft -- to the Brazilian Air Force. And we think it can help provide Brazil with the kind of fighter technology that it needs for the future.

The United States has recently put forward a new defense strategy. And one of the key elements in that priority is to strengthen our global security partnerships in very innovative ways. And that’s why this defense cooperation dialogue is very important for us -- because it provides the vehicle for Brazil and the United States to build an innovative defense partnership for the 21st century.

I was honored to be able to invite the minister to come to Washington so that we can continue this dialogue in the United States. And I look forward to working together with him to advance the security and prosperity of both of our great nations.

DEF. MIN. AMORIM: (Translated.) Okay. Now we will entertain three questions. Representing the Brazilian media: Claudia from TV Global.

Q: (Translated.) Good afternoon. I would like to know what is truly going to be the true, concrete result of this new phase of dialogue between the U.S. and Brazil. What can we conclude from what you have just said when you mentioned that there has been an improvement in the offer of the F-X2 aircraft? If it’s improvement of the area of technology transfer also as it happened in Colombia. Is the U.S. government going to act to punish the Marines involved here in Brasilia with prostitutes?

SEC. PANETTA: First of all, with regards to relationship with Brazil, we have developed a defense strategy for the future in the United States. And a key element of that defense strategy is to develop security partnerships -- innovative security partnerships for the future. And a country like Brazil that is a world power, that obviously represents a very important force that’s developing in this region as well as elsewhere is a very important partner for the United States to be able to have and to work with.

There are a number of areas where we can improve that relationship: obviously, defense trade and research, in scientific exchanges, in areas like cyber security, in working together in humanitarian areas where we can provide great cooperation. There are a number of areas where we can improve and increase our cooperation, our exchange of information and our exchange of assistance so that both countries are working for the same goal -- Brazil working to protect and safeguard and provide security for its people and the United States working to provide security and safety for our people as well.

With regards to what you mentioned, obviously this incident was fully investigated and those that were involved have been punished and held accountable. They are no longer in this country. They were reduced in rank and they were severely punished for that behavior. I have no tolerance for that kind of conduct, not here or any place in the world. And where it takes place, you can be assured that we will act to make sure that they are punished and that that kind of behavior is not acceptable.

DEF. MIN. AMORIM: (Translated.) Claudia, I wonder if you’re interested in my answer on the first part only, obviously. But I would say that the concrete results exist and things happen at all times. Today or yesterday, three Black Hawk helicopters purchased by Brazil have arrived from the United States. This is a process that will occur always. Evidently, there are several other important aspects so that this greater cooperation in the area of advanced technology may happen.

I mentioned to Secretary Panetta some of our difficulties. I told him. He knows this. We have already talked this over the telephone. We said that we were sad to know that the -- Embraer Air -- aircraft, which were certainly the best -- the air force considered them the best -- airplanes, were not purchased. He guaranteed that the process is going recovered, let’s say, and if we consider quality we are sure that we have a capacity to compete. Naturally, I cannot say that the entire relationship is going to depend on this particular example.

Other things concern in the area of advanced technology trade. For instance, they concern products that are important for us for a variety of processes. Then there are several products of this type. I think it’s not perhaps the most adequate thing to say here, but Brazil imports a lot from the United States…helicopters, for instance. We will continue to import these products, but sometimes we need parts, components, systems that are essential for broader projects in Brazil. Considering the totally peaceful nature of all our projects, not only peaceful because we declare them as peaceful, but because they have been accepted as such by international agencies.

I also express the expectation that this positive atmosphere which is being created, the perspective of agreements in the area of exchanging researchers and joint work, said that this should impact facilitating the procurement of some products. These are quite concrete and quite effective examples of how is it possible for us to develop the relationship.

Q: (Inaudible.)

DEF. MIN. AMORIM: (Translated.) Sorry? The fighters. No, no, no. The fighters I also told -- it’s a decision made -- to be made by the president, based on several elements. He gave us some additional elements. It is always possible. I think that the studies are ready and the opinion has been made, but it is always interesting to know what may occur.

I have nothing to add to what you already know about this topic. We have three competing offers. We will certainly consider several aspects: quality, price, and technology transfer guarantees.

Q: My first question is for Minister Amorim, can you give us a sense of timing when you’re going to make this decision? We’ve been hearing about it for long time. And can you let us know whether or not the Boeing Jet -- is actually really in consideration or if it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion it’s going to be Rafaeli?

And to Secretary Panetta, could you speak a bit about North Korea? I know it’s off topic, but my question is -- Reuters published a story earlier today suggesting North Korea has already completed preparations for third nuclear test. Do you believe that North Korea is near complete -- in their-- preparations? Thank you.

SEC. PANETTA: (Inaudible.)

DEF. MIN. AMORIM: Well, any precise time schedule, I can’t give you because we do not have the deadline. I understand that all of those who submitted offers are anxious. This is quite natural. In fact, they’re all part of the game. But this decision has to be made in a very firm way, in a way which is coherent with our needs, and also coherent with our economic possibilities, I would say that this is basic.

What I may tell you is that there is no foregone conclusion. Nothing has been decided. Evidently, our dialogue involves other topics and Secretary Panetta came here to discuss other topics, but specifically about that he was heard and this is very important. If I had a conclusion, I would not have been unkind to allow him to talk about this. This is a decision which is still to be made.

SEC. PANETTA: With regards to North Korea, as you know, we’ve gone through a dangerous cycle with North Korea that involves periods of accommodation and then periods of provocation. Our hope was that we were beyond that when we were discussing with the North Koreans steps to have them begin to close their enrichment facilities. Unfortunately, they decided to engage again in provocation, and whether or not the launch of the ballistic missile was a failure or not, it still represented a dangerous provocation that was condemned by the United States and condemned by the world. And we would strongly urge North Korea not to engage in any further provocation.

I do not have any specific information as to whether or not they will proceed or not with additional provocations at this time, but I, again, would strongly urge them not to engage in any kind of provocation, be it nuclear testing or any other act that would provide greater instability in a dangerous part of the world.

MR.: Last question -- from the French Press Brazil Agency.

Q: Good afternoon, I would like to, beside this -- the FX -- if there is any other equipment that Brazil wishes to purchase or if Brazil wants to manufacture any type of equipment in Brazil; are there any other equipment that might be bought from the United States? Aircraft perhaps? And if the transfer of technology for this equipment is still a barrier, would technology transfer still be a barrier for Brazil to purchase other defense equipment? And also a regional cooperation issue. In the region, cooperation is expanding in the area of defense. Is there any possibility of cooperation with the United States and under what terms?

SEC. PANETTA: Let me tell you that we stress the importance of defense trade and I recognize the importance of these technologies to Brazil having the opportunity to be able to develop and sell those technologies.

For your information, we’ve approved over -- close to 4,000 export licenses to Brazil between 2010 and 2011, and we will continue to approve those kinds of licenses in the future because we think that it is important. They’re a good ally, a good friend, a good partner. There oftentimes are requirements in the United States law that require us to adhere to certain requirements with regards to some of these technologies. But overall, I have to tell you that my goal as secretary of defense is to do all I can to try to improve the defense trade with Brazil.

DEF. MIN. AMORIM: Well, the question is if we have any perspectives of purchasing other equipment from the U.S. This happens all the time. I have just mentioned the Black Hawk helicopters. It is evident that we are interested in always having technology transfer to Brazil. As you know, other countries have acted likewise, and I think that if the United States -- and this is what I understand from the -- visit of Secretary Panetta, if the U.S. is interested in deepening the relationship with Brazil, this relationship cannot be only a purchase and selling relationship. It is important that we have equipment to sell to them. In the case that we mentioned before -- Embraer Air, this is a proven aircraft. It is useful, it is effective and perhaps it is even better adjusted to certain important theaters where the United States are involved.

As part of this philosophy, we do consider the ability of creating partnerships, of developing. Perhaps this may be one of the results of this joint research project that were mentioned by the secretary. We’re not only talking about research for science to be published in scientific publications. We want to produce real equipment. Brazil has a lot of needs in terms of developing its defense strategy. There are many opportunities for many of the partners of Brazil. The U.S. are certainly a very important partner. They’re always going to be. We have a lot in common, but evidently we may have to have visions and different priorities, as it is quite normal when we talk about big countries. When the secretary mentioned that Brazil -- and these are his words, not mine -- when he said that Brazil is a global power, I think implicit there is the recognition of the fact that it is country that acts independently.

Concerning the regional issue, I would just like to add that I have an opportunity -- it is not my intention to be too academic here, but I would like to give you an idea of how the relationships in our region have evolved and the importance of the South American integration process, mainly in the case of -- (inaudible) -- that has to do with defense. I stress that this does not exclude other forms of regional cooperation and certainly it does not exclude the bilateral cooperation between Brazil and the United States. This should not be a concern for anybody because we’re quite transparent. We have no other type of objective in our region. We always try to look for cooperation exclusively. We have no rivals. We have no enemies, nor real, nor potential in our region, but we need to be ready for a broader type of defense. And the United States are certainly a very important partner in this process.

SEC. PANETTA: Well, as the minister mentioned, we kind of discussed -- (inaudible) -- of a relationship between the United States and Brazil and also kind of the United States in the region. And in the past when both of us were in other capacities there was a time when the United States discouraged developing military capability in countries in Latin and Central America. The fact is today, we think the development of those kinds of capabilities is important and that if we can -- if we can use those capabilities to develop the kind of innovative partnerships that I’m talking about, what that will do is advance, I think, the security in this region and the security of the countries that are involved. We think this is a real opportunity.

You know, the United States, just like other countries, are facing budget constrictions -- which are going to affect the future. And what we believe is that the best way to approach the future is to develop partnerships, alliances, to develop relationships with other countries, share information, share assistance, share capabilities, and in that way we can provide greater security for the future. That’s our goal -- (inaudible).

DEF. MIN. AMORIM: If you allow me. I think what the secretary has just said is extremely important. I had the opportunity of receiving 20 years ago, at the time we had no ministry of defense here, and I ended up becoming the host, but I received Secretary William Perry during the Clinton administration. It was a great dialogue, but the idea at the time, if you allow me to say -- not William Perry’s idea, but in general, the idea was that defense as a whole should not be a concern of the countries of our region. We have a powerful ally. That ally would take care of that and we should concern ourselves with other issues, as for instance criminality and drug trafficking.

I think what the secretary has just said is very important for a new conception of this relationship between Brazil and the United States in the area of defense. And by the way, this is reflected in the joint communiqué when, among other things, issues are mentioned not only of a bilateral nature, but also world issues. And we mentioned some of them as part of the conference of ministers of the defense.

I think that this vision is very important for us to be able to be true partners. We need to understand that a country like Brazil needs to be adequately equipped.

Thank you all and thank you very much, once again, Secretary Panetta, with whom I intend to continue this dialogue very soon. Thank you.

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