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Belize and Brazil sign co-operation agreement
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June 11 Belmopan Belize: Prime Minister Said Musa returned to Belize Friday after leading a Belizean delegation on an official visit to Brazil.  In Brazil, Prime
Minister Musa and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed two agreements, one on technical cooperation and the other on the exemption of visas for holders of diplomatic, official and service passports.

Apart from signing the two agreements, Prime Minister Musa and President
da Silva also had a private meeting where matters of mutual interest were discussed and a joint communiqué was issued. 

During the four day stay in Brazil, the Belizean delegation had meetings with Ministers and senior officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Foreign Affairs, as well as private sector leaders in agricultural research and the sugar industry.
For Belize, the most important achievements arising from the visit are as follows: Stronger relations with Brazil, the leading economic power in South America and an emerging world leader; expressed interest by President da Silva to provide long term, low interest financing to the Government of Belize to implement the drainage component of the Southside Infrastructure Project, subject to the completion of the ongoing feasibility study.
A decision by the Brazilian private sector to dispatch an expert to Belize by the end of June to analyze the sugar industry in Belize, with a view to promote joint venture investment in the production of ethanol and generation of electrical power from sugar cane.
A commitment by Brazil to share with Belize its knowledge and expertise on HIV/AIDS prevention, control and patient care.  For now, the HIV/AIDS cooperation programme will be pursued on a bilateral basis, but Belize will be incorporated later in Brazil’s cooperation programme with Caricom or Central America.  In addition, Brazil indicated its willingness to provide anti-retroviral drugs to Belize at a low cost as soon as production supplies improve in Brazil.
Agreement that artists from Belize will be invited to participate in the world renowned Sao Paolo biennial international cultural exhibition to be held in 2006.
Establishment, in the near future, of a resident embassy in Belmopan by Brazil. Brazil will consider sending a practical and experienced soybean processing technician to assist Nutrisoya Belize Ltd., for a limited period of time, with the management and operation of the newly constructed soybean processing plant in Yo Creek, Orange Walk.  Brazil also expressed an interest to assist Belize with improving the production of soybean in Belize.
Continuation of two (2) scholarships annually for Belizean to study international relations in Brazil; Belizeans traveling with diplomatic, official or service passports no longer need a visa to travel to Brazil.

The signing of the technical cooperation agreement is expected to facilitate cooperation in other areas not yet identified, and expand scholarship and short term training opportunities for Belizeans.  While in Brazil, the PM was introduced to the Brazilian Federal Senate in session, and had meetings with the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federal Senate, Senator Cristovam Buarque, and the President of the Brazilian Congress, Representative Severino Cavalcanti.

The Prime Minister, who was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Godfrey Smith, Health Minister Vildo Marin, and CEO Hugh O’Brien from
the Ministry of National Development, indicated that the trip to Brazil was ‘very successful’ and he looks forward to a new era of partnership between Brazil and Belize.
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