US pressing Brazil to return boy to fatherMarch 14th, 2009 - 11:43 am ICT by IANS
Washington, March 14 (DPA) The US government is urging Brazil to return an eight-year-old boy to his father in the US in a case that could come up when President Barack Obama holds his first meeting with his Brazilian counterpart Saturday.
The boy lives with his stepfather in Brazil. A New Jersey court has ruled in favour of his father, David Goldman, and decided the boy, Sean, should be returned to the US. But a Brazilian court has granted custody to his stepfather.
The US House of Representatives this week passed a resolution unanimously calling on Brazilian authorities to return Sean to his native country and urging Obama to raise the issue during the White House meeting with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The boy’s Brazilian mother took Sean to Brazil after splitting with Goldman four years ago. She refused to return, got a divorce and remarried. The legal wrangling started five months later.
However, it got worse when the woman died during childbirth in late 2007. Sean has since been in the custody of his Brazilian stepfather.
The US State Department top official for Latin American relations told reporters Friday that Obama has been briefed on the issue and that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has conveyed the US position to Brazilian officials.
“We’ve made it very clear that, from our point of view, this is a case that falls within the purview of the Hague Convention and that Sean Goldman should be returned to his father,” Assistant Secretary of State Tom Shannon said.
“The government of Brazil believes the same thing and has said so publicly,” he said. “Currently, this case rests with the federal courts of Brazil. We’re hopeful that the appropriate decision will be rendered.”
Clinton spoke with Goldman this week and Obama is aware of the importance of the issue, Shannon said.
“I can’t say what the president going to say. That’s his decision. But, obviously, he’s aware of the issue. He understands it’s important,” Shannon said.
Obama and Lula will hold their first meeting since Obama took office ahead of the April 2 summit of the world’s leading 20 economies in London and the mid-April Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.
Lula’s visit to Washington shows the increasingly critical role the South American power plays in the world economy and in the effort to halt the global economic downturn.
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