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Lula calls for ethanol investment

President Lula (left) with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
President Lula is currently holding talks in India

Rich countries must be ready to pay to help developing countries preserve their environment, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said.

This should include investment for African nations to develop biodiesel and ethanol, President Lula told the BBC's HARDtalk programme.

Brazil is a pioneer in producing ethanol vehicle fuel from sugar cane.

President Lula has been invited to attend a G8 meeting in Germany this week that will focus on global warming.

"Rich countries have to pay for the poor countries to avoid deforestation so they can adopt clean models for development that don't cause pollution or greenhouse gas emissions," President Lula said.

"That's what I'm going to discuss at the G8 meeting."

Miners clear forest in Brazil's Amazon rainforest
Brazil says it has reduced Amazon deforestation by 50%

He denied that Brazilian plans to devote more land to ethanol production rather than food would put more pressure on the Amazon rainforest and cause further deforestation.

"Brazil has 440m hectares of land for agriculture. Sugar cane cultivation uses only 1% of that. Soya bean uses only 4% and cattle raising 29%. So the issue is not land, and it's not even about the rainforest because the Amazon is not a good area for sugar cane production," he said.

Brazil did not want to be the only country to grow sugar cane or biodiesel crops, he said.

Rich countries should "start to help African countries to start to produce biodiesel and ethanol so that we can create jobs in Africa and wealth".

Chavez criticism

In a wide-ranging interview, President Lula also spoke about Brazil's insistence on reform of the UN Security Council and its desire for a permanent seat.

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez (left0 and President Lula (right) at a meeting in April
Ties have cooled recently between Venezuela and Brazil

"We need to convince the world that there's no reason Latin America should not be represented on the Security Council, or that Africa should not be represented and that important countries like India, Germany or Japan should not be members."

The Brazilian president also said he was optimistic that the Doha round of world trade talks would reach agreement.

He would not be drawn on recent disagreements with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Last week, Mr Chavez accused the Brazilian Congress of acting like a "puppet" of the US after the Senate in Brasilia passed a motion urging him to reconsider his decision to revoke the licence of Venezuelan television network RCTV.

This prompted President Lula on Friday to tell his Venezuelan counterpart to mind his own business.

But in the BBC interview, President Lula insisted that Venezuela was a partner of Brazil.

"Chavez has his own reasons to fight with the US. And the US have their own reasons to fight with Venezuela. Brazil has no reason to fight with the US and no reason to fight with Venezuela," he said.

President Lula is currently in Delhi for talks on boosting trade and ties between two of the world's major emerging economies.



SEE ALSO
Brazil scolds rich on environment
07 Feb 07 |  Americas
Lula seeks regional integration
26 Apr 07 |  Americas
Brazil in ethanol production vow
18 Apr 07 |  Business
Profile: Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
28 Jan 10 |  Americas

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