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Monday, 14 January, 2002, 20:01 GMT
Russia backs Brazil's UN bid
Brazil's president Fernando Henrique Cardoso (left) and President Vladimir Putin of Russia
Brazil has campaigned hard for a permanent UN seat
By Jan Rocha in Sao Paolo

Russia has decided to offer official support for Brazil's efforts to gain a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

The offer came during a visit to Moscow by Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the first official visit by a Brazilian President to Russia.

Brazil, the world's eighth largest economy, has been campaigning for some time for a permanent seat on council, which is still the preserve of the winners of the Second World War.

UN Security Council permanent members
US
Russia
China
UK
France

Now Russia has officially decided to support Brazil's candidacy - the first time one of the permanent members has done so.

US strain

Mr Cardoso's Moscow visit marks the beginning of closer ties between the two countries at a time when relations between the largest country in South America and the United States are under strain.

This is because Brazil is resisting American pressure to set up Alca, the North America Free Trade Zone and supporting instead, Mercosul, the independent free-market zone for South America.

Now Russia and Brazil hope to double trade within two years.

In further signs of closer relations, the Brazilian air force could soon be flying Russian fighter planes manufactured in Brazil and the Bolshoi ballet has chosen a town in southern Brazil for its first overseas school.

See also:

10 Jun 00 | Education
Ballet boys from Brazil
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