On behalf of Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and also on behalf of UNCTAD, I like warmly to welcome to the Palais des Nations in Geneva the President of Brazil, Mr. Inacio Lula da Silva, and his Ministers, and also to welcome and thank all the representatives of the private sector who braved inclement weather to attend our meeting and listen to the representatives of the Brazilian Government regarding their investment plans.
I would like to say, on behalf of the UN and of UNCTAD in particular, that this meeting is part of the preparatory process for the next UN Conference on Trade and Development that will take place in São Paulo, Brazil, in mid-June.
On that occasion - specifically, on 13 June - we will also hold an Investment Summit in which we expect private investors to participate and to meet directly with the representatives of the Brazilian Government regarding investment matters related to Brazil. This is part of the continuous effort of the UN to promote FDI as an instrument of economic development in harmony and cooperation with international entrepreneurs, and to build linkages with the local economy.
I would like to highlight the important elements that Brazil brings to these meetings, the sacrifices made by the country during the first year of the new government, the very positive results that are already evident and the expectation that the international investment community will do its part in a spirit of partnership.
In this same spirit I would like once again to thank the President of Brazil for honouring us with his presence, and invite him to take the floor.