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French President Hollande arrives in Brazil

December 12, 2013

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — France will help Brazil become one of 10 countries in the world able to build a high-performance supercomputer, President Dilma Rousseff said Thursday following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande, who is in Brazil on a two-day state visit.

Officials from the two countries signed an agreement for Brazilian and French companies to join forces to develop a new generation of high-performance computers, transferring technology to Brazil.

The computer can be used for purposes such as weather forecasting or managing nuclear energy generation, Rousseff said.

The cost was not mentioned, but local news media placed it at about $41 million.

In his statement, Hollande said France supports a resolution that Brazil and Germany submitted to the United Nations General Assembly calling for an end to excessive electronic surveillance, data collection and other espionage techniques.

“It is needed to protect our nations’ sovereignties and our individual liberties,” Hollande said.

Recent reports revealed that France, Brazil and Germany have been targeted by eavesdropping by the U.S. National Security Agency.

Neither president mentioned Brazil’s plan to purchase 36 jet fighters. The French-built Rafale fighter made by Dassault is one of three Brazil is considering. The other two are Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and the Gripen produced by Sweden’s Saab.

The two presidents also signed agreements calling for construction and launching of a geostationary defense and communications satellite and the creation of a binational company formed by French naval company DCNS and Brazil’s Odebrecht for the production of defense equipment.

Jean-Jacques Kourliandsky, a researcher with the Paris-based Institute of International and Strategic Relations, said Hollande’s visit was aimed at increasing the economic ties between the two countries.

“As we know, France and Europe are not in a particularly brilliant economic situation at the moment, and for that reason France’s new president, Francois Hollande, has set what he calls ‘economic diplomacy’ as his priority, looking in particular at Latin America,” he said. “From the French point of view, Brazil is seen as a rising economic power that offers a number of interesting opportunities for French businesses.”

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