US State Department briefing on Latin America
1. US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher walking up to lectern
3. SOUNDBITE: (English) Richard Boucher, State Department spokesman:
“I think you all know we’ve come forward, I think, already with about 4 million (m) dollars’ worth of assistance to the countries in the Caribbean. We have identified another 8 million (m) dollars that we have available now, and yesterday the president asked Congress to approve in the emergency supplemental (request) 50 million (m) dollars for relief of countries in the area. So the secretary has been considering the situation down there, looking at what more we might do, looking at whether a visit might make sense at this juncture, if it could help the process of recovery along and not frankly disrupt relief operations.”
5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Richard Boucher, State Department spokesman:
“Brazil is one country the secretary has looked forward to visiting. He’s been, as you know, on the phone many times with the Brazilian foreign minister. They met several times, coordinated very closely when it came to events like the (troop) deployments in Haiti, when it came to various pieces of (UN) Security Council business, worked very closely with Brazil concerning the referendum this summer in Venezuela as well as worked – we have worked, I’d say – with Brazil very closely for example on the trade area when it came down this summer to trying to put together a framework for the Doha round. Our trade contacts with Brazil this summer were very important in achieving that successful outcome. So in a lot of ways we work with Brazil on many issues – bilateral, regional, and some of them global. It’s an important partner in the region.”
6. Reporters asking questions
7. Boucher at lectern
The United States will provide millions (m) of dollars’ worth of aid to Caribbean countries hit hard by hurricanes this season.
US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters Monday that the US has already given US four million (m) dollars to some affected countries.
A request for an extra US 50 million (m) dollars, which President Bush made Tuesday to Congress, would be used to help rebuilding and relief efforts.
Some critics complain the amount is still not enough to help the islands recover from the destruction from hurricanes Ivan, Frances and Jeanne, which tally up to billions (b) of dollars.
A visit by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to South America in October does not currently include trips to any of the hurricane-ravaged islands, but Boucher said the State Department is discussing whether to add the islands to Powell’s itinerary.
Powell’s only scheduled stop is Brazil, the region’s largest country, where he is to talk about Latin American issues with local officials.
Boucher said talks in Brasilia would cover the political situation in Venezuela, peacekeeping efforts between Brazil and Haiti, and cooperation on security issues.
Boucher said Powell is looking forward to his visit to Brazil and considers the country to be an important US ally in the region.
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