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Brazil To Defend Biofuels At UN Summit In Rome

Source:  Copyright 2008, Reuters
Date:  June 2, 2008
Byline:  Phil Stewart
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Sunday he would seek to convince world leaders gathering in Rome this week that ethanol is not to blame for global food inflation threatening millions with hunger.

Brazil is the world's largest ethanol exporter and a pioneer in sugar-cane based biofuels, making it a target of critics who say ethanol is behind increases in world commodity prices.

Lula said the UN summit on food security which begins on Tuesday would give Latin America's biggest economy an opportunity to shape the debate about biofuels -- and hopefully win over some sceptics.

"This gathering that the (UN Food and Agriculture Organisation) is promoting will be a great opportunity for Brazil," Lula told reporters in Rome ahead of the event.

"I'm convinced that we're at the beginning a debate. ... It's up to Brazil, a centre of excellence in ethanol production, to prove that ...

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