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April 13, 1998

A new envoy for Brazil has presented credentials at the Organization of American States (OAS) highlighting as his main focus the defense of human rights, democratic principles, hemispheric security and the war against drug trafficking and consumption.

Ambassador Carlos Alberto Leite Barbosa praised the OAS as an important hemispheric body providing valuable leadership and stance on those and other crucial issues, saying Brazil had specific objectives on these issues within the OAS. He singled out the fight against drugs as one that is an issue of particular importance for countries and said he looked forward to his work in the OAS.

Turning to the Summit of the Americas opening in Santiago, Chile later this week, he said he held out strong hope for its outcome, explaining that the prospects were good in terms of further progress on hemispheric free trade and integration.

Welcoming the new permanent representative, Secretary General CÚsar Gaviria referred to Brazil's important contribution to the Organization's agenda, noting that it was particularly important that someone with Ambassador Barbosa's experience was selected to represent his country at this time. Particularly as it embarks on a new era with new mandates before it, the OAS could benefit tremendously from the knowledge being brought by the new permanent representative, said the OAS chief.

The brief ceremony for the presentation of credentials was preceded by an informal meeting between the secretary general and the new ambassador, the latter accompanied by members of his Permanent Mission to the OAS. Ambassador Barbosa, who succeeds Itamar Franco whose tour of duty ended recently, is arriving from Europe. He was ambassador in Rome, Italy, for five years, followed by a six-year tour as ambassador in Paris, France.

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