Brazilian and Nigerian presidents tout new
Latin-Africa partnership
   ABUJA, April 11 (AFP) - Brazil's President Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva and his Nigerian counterpart
Olusegun Obasanjo called here Monday for a new
political and economic partnership between their
nations and their continents.
   The pair were speaking as Lula visited Abuja as
part of an African tour.
   Nigeria and Brazil are allies in the fight to
persuade the World Trade Organisation to agree a
better deal for farm exports from the developing
world, and both are seeking a seat on a possible
expanded UN Security Council.
   Lula said that both Latin America and Africa had
been looking too much towards the United States and
Europe to help them develop their economies and that
the time had come for developing countries to work
   "Myself together with President Obasanjo and with
dozens of other leaders; now is the time for us to
make a decision. Do we want to continue to be poor, or
do we want to take a step forward?" asked the
Brazilian leader.
   "If the 19th century was the century for Europe,
the 20th century was the century for the United
States. Why can't the 21st century be ours? It only
depends on us and if we can believe in that," he
   "I believe that the time has come that we should
look towards each other and that we should proceed.
There are many things that we should do together that
we have not yet done," he said at a joint media call.
   "Our trade relations could be much more intense.
Our cultural relations can be much more intense too.
Then our political liaison can be definitely much more
than it is today, and for that we are now in this
gathering," he added.
   Lula was greeted at Obasanjo's Aso Rock Villa by an
honour guard and a 21-gun salute. He went immediately
into bilateral talks with Obasanjo.
   "There is so much we have in common, there is so
much that we can explore bilaterally between Africa
and South America, that I personally hope that this
visit will be the beginning of greater things," said
   Obasanjo is the current chairman of the African
Union and both Nigeria and Brazil are the biggest
nations on their respective continents and potential
economic powerhouses.
   Many Brazilians are descended from Nigerian slaves
kidnapped from west African by European traders and
transported across the Atlantic and the traditional
rites of the coastal peoples continue to have much in
   Lula is expected to meet later in the day with
Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the executive secretary of the
west African regional bloc ECOWAS, and again with
Obasanjo on Tuesday, after which some bilateral
agreements will be signed.
   The Brazilian leader said that he had invited
Obasanjo on a return visit to Brazil and that he hoped
that more bilateral deals would be signed then.
   Lula is on a tour of African countries. He left
Cameroon on Monday and is expected to head on to
Ghana, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.