Azerbaijan, Baku, March 18 / Trend , E.Ostapenko/
Trend exclusive interview with the first Brazilian ambassador to Azerbaijan
Paulo Antonio Pereira Pinto.
Diplomatic relations between
Azerbaijan and Brazil were established in 1993. Brazilian Embassy in Azerbaijan was opened in June last year.
Trend : Mr. Ambassador, Brazil is the second Latin American country, which opened its embassy in Azerbaijan. What are your country's interests in Azerbaijan? What will be main priorities of your embassy here?
Paulo Antonio Pereira Pinto: Brazil has become an actor of increasing importance in the global scene both politically and economically. But it can not play a role a global actor without having an Embassy in Azerbaijan. We recognized that historically Azerbaijan is situated in a very important part of the world that was once known as the Silk Routes.
Silk Rout is not only about trade, we think about the cultural exchange of ideas and religions. Brazil being multicultural, multi-ethnical, multi-religious country, we think it is very important to have presence here so we can increase the dialogue with Azerbaijan.
Q: Are there favorable conditions for cooperation in the political sphere?
A: We are living in a world with one source of power which is economic power, but both Brazil and Azerbaijan are the countries that advocates and envisage the world where multi-culturality would be one of strength. When we get this favour of scenario, our two countries would be very important players, because they both are able to manage internally our cultural differences.
UN General Assembly has approved the international day of
Novruz which is an effort of your government to have international day that celebrates the multi-culturality and that is celebrated in your country. Brazil also puts a lot of emphasize towards multi-culturality and will host the meeting of the Alliances of the civilization in May this year. Last year it was in Turkey, before that in Spain. Some officials from Azerbaijan are also special guests to come to this meeting.
Speaking about politics, Brazil is a candidate of enlarged
UN Security Council. Now there are five permanent members of UN Security Council, and we would like it to be enlarged. We would like to be part of it, to be more active in international matters.
Q: What is Brazil's official position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
A: We are in favor of peaceful negotiations and we trust that the
Minsk Group which is responsible for the negotiations will remain the main instrument for negotiations. We wish that the peace process can be developed further through the Minsk group in order to establish security and cooperation in Europe.
Brazil praises very much territorial integrity. Brazil is the country that has the
Amazon which the rest of the world tries to internationalize from time to time [to declare this space heritage of mankind]. So territorial integrity is something that is very valuable for Brazil. It makes the political dialogue easy with your country which is also has territorial problems.
Q: At the time of your appointment as the Brazilian Ambassador to Azerbaijan in June last year Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov mentioned the importance of the ties between the diplomatic academies of Brazil and Azerbaijan, as well as the exchange of experience. At what stage is this initiative now?
A: This is on the cards. Historically we have one of the most well-known diplomacy in the world, because we haven't had a war for the last 150 years. All the borders were negotiated diplomatically and we have a very good reputation.
Q: What do you think about the current level of bilateral cultural ties? Are Brazilian people well familiar with literature, music, painting and other spheres of cultural life of modern Azerbaijan? What are your Embassy's plans in promoting this sector of relationships?
A: I am very glad to notice that despite the distance we headed the book by Brazilian author
Jorge Amado published in Azeri. [The book includes novels such as " Captains of the Sand" and " Tent of Miracles", as well as short stories]. Also a book by Azerbaijani author Kamal Abdullah which is called "The unfinished manuscripts" was translated into Portuguese and was published in Brazil. This is a big step forward.
We are going further steps to increase this cultural cooperation. Now the delegation from Azerbaijan is going to visit Brazil, for the ministry of education to learn about our innovative forms of education.
We are bringing the experts to coach the field of
Capoeira which is Brazilian martial art [that combines elements of acrobatics, games and dance under the national Brazilian music]. We are also going to bring two dancing teachers here to teach Brazilian dances [samba, maracatu and asha] in Azerbaijan.
And we have a special project that we are trying in educational purpose to rewrite The Independence of Brazil with Azeri artists trying to give Azeri perspective to the independence of Brazil. It is very easy to pinpoint what are the differences between us. Dramatic is to find what we have in common. Rewriting the Independence of Brazil from Azeri perspective is a step further what else do we have in common. Finding out what we have in common will facilitate political dialogue with Brazil which is a multicultural country.
The same work we did with Indians. As a result of that book which was published in cooperation with Indians we had a Brazilian carnival in the city of Goa which was former Portuguese colony. In Baku we didn't have carnival yet. But we give a lot of importance to stage of presentation. We intend to have a presentation of Independence of Brazil that will be done by Azeri dancing students. What really matters is cultural fusion.
Concerning sport, we have about 20 Brazilian players playing in Azerbaijan and three of them are playing in your national team. When Brazilian national team played in India, on the back of Brazilian team's shirts we put a small sign "Braz-India". Now we hope to have the similar thing on the shirts of Brazilian national team writing "Braz-Azeri". We intend to distribute it this year previously to the World Cup.
Q: Brazilian Carnival and festivals, and Novruz Holiday which is celebrated in Azerbaijan. Do you see any similarities?
A: These holidays have a lot in common. First of all, it is celebration of life and multi-culturality. As far as I know,
Novruz was initially the holidays of Zoroastrians. And emphasize was celebration of how differences can live together. Brazilian Carnival has African, Portuguese and native roots. So Carnival is the celebration of multi-culturality. We both celebrate spring and life. These holidays are the signs of tolerance, friendship and non-antagonism.
Q: How would you evaluate the level of trade and economic relations between the two states? What is Brazil ready to offer Azerbaijan as trade and economic partner?
A: We still are making market research. There is wide range of Brazilian meat on Azeri market. We have been selling a lot of kinds of meat, chicken and pork. One of the priorities that we would like to establish here is women clothing and shoes. We have very good fashion in Brazil. In our new office that we will have starting next month we hope we can make exposition of this clothing so that we can promote more this field. A number of products are already being exported from Brazil, but they come to Azerbaijan from different sources, so we are trying to establish direct imports to Azerbaijan. We didn't have the time yet to map all the market possibilities.
We hope that airplanes we produce will also get to the Azeri market. But we have not been able to make a strategy in this sense yet.
Q: What kind of cooperation in energy sector do you see as most perspective for both sides?
A: Deep-water drilling sphere is well developing in Brazil and we have advanced technology in this sphere. We would like to promote deep-water technology also in the Caspian Sea. This is already going on through our national oil company Petrobras. Discussions about it are already going on technical level. This form of cooperation has already been established.
Exchange of experts in this field is also being considered. At this state we are also very busy in Brazil, because we are exploring our own deep sea resources. We used to import a lot of oil from Azerbaijan. Until 2008 we were importing about 60 million of US dollars of oil. As Brazil has become self-sufficient in oil, our imports from Azerbaijan have reduced and bilateral trade has gone down, as well.
The trade will happen, but the priority to establish is a dialogue. After knowing each other better the possibilities of bilateral trade will increase. Embassies are not just the places to do business; it is a place of dialogue among different nations. As our Foreign Minister used to say, diplomats create the clouds, and the business people have to make rain. So what we trying to do is to create the clouds.