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[RIO DE JANEIRO] The Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the US president George Bush agreed last week (31 March) to explore cooperation in combating disease in African countries, building on their cooperation on HIV/AIDS in Mozambique and Angola.

The partnership will concentrate on fighting malaria, tuberculosis and neglected diseases in Portuguese-speaking countries such as Angola and Mozambique.

During the visit by president Lula to Camp David ― the US president's mountain retreat in the state of Maryland ― the presidents also agreed to confront the threat of avian flu.

In addition, they announced a specific commitment to cooperate on a plan to eradicate malaria in the islands of Sao Tome and Principe, off the coast of West Africa.

At the meeting, the presidents renewed a memorandum of understanding for education between the countries.

As an example of action in education, they applauded the immediate start-up of a programme targeting increased professional and technological education in Brazil and bilateral exchange in an effort to include increasing numbers of young people and adults in the labour market.

The presidents reaffirmed their intention to use their ongoing "commercial dialogue" to seek ways to promote innovation and increase trade opportunities between the countries, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, and protect intellectual property rights.

They applauded plans by the United States Council on Competitiveness and the Brazilian Competitiveness Movement to stage an "Innovation Summit" in Brasilia in July 2007 to support greater competitiveness and innovation.

The presidents also welcomed the strengthening of the partnership between the two countries in the area of renewable energy with a memorandum of understanding to advance cooperation on biofuels, signed in Brazil last month (see Brazil and US to partner on ethanol [in Spanish]).

They expressed their governments' intention to arrange for Brazilian scientists and researchers to visit state-of-the-art biofuel research laboratories in the United States, as well as visits to Brazil by senior officials of the United States Departments of Energy, State, and Agriculture in Spring 2007.

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