RIO DE JANEIRO, January 1. /TASS/. Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who took office as Brazil’s president on Sunday, has vowed to strengthen cooperation within the framework of the BRICS association (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
"Our leading role will be embodied in the resumption of South American integration on the basis of Mercosur (South America’s common market - TASS), and on the basis of revitalizing the Union of South American Nations and other sovereign institutions in our region. We will be able to build an active and productive dialogue with the United States, the EU, China, Asian countries and other global players. We will be strengthening BRICS and cooperation with African countries in order to end the isolation where our country has been in recent years," Lula da Silva said in his inaugural address. "Brazil must become the master of its own destiny."
He recalled that most of the equatorial rainforests of the Amazon basin were located on the territory of his country. Lula da Silva stressed that the future government intended to discuss issues on the environmental agenda based on national interests and on an equal footing with developed Western countries.
On Sunday, Brasilia saw the presidential inauguration ceremony. According to the organizers the event gathered 65 foreign delegations, including 17 at the level of the head of state. The Russian delegation is led by the speaker of the Federation Council (upper house of parliament) Valentina Matviyenko. Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan arrived from Beijing.