Brazil was a founding member of the League of Nations (see Glossary) in 1920 and the UN in 1945, and has chaired the UN Security Council on several occasions. Brazil is also an active participant in the Organization of American States (OAS; see Glossary), IMF, World Bank (see Glossary), Inter-American Development Bank (IADB; see Glossary), African Development Bank (ADB), World Trade Organization (WTO, which now administers the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade--GATT; see Glossary), International Commodity Organization (coffee, cocoa beans), and Antarctic Treaty. International pressures have been strong on Brazil to join certain agreements, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Brazil announced its decision to sign on June 20, 1997. Brazil joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR--see Glossary) in October 1995.
Brazil has participated in UN peacekeeping operations since the Suez Crisis in 1956. A Brazilian contingent participated in the UN observer force that guaranteed the October 1994 elections in Mozambique, and in the UN observer force in Bosnia in 1995. Regarding the latter, a Brazilian general commanded a force of 680 observers, of whom thirty-four were Brazilians. In May 1995, two Brazilian officers were among the several hundred UN observers captured by the Bosnian Serbs and used as human shields against further NATO bombings. The number of Brazilian personnel attached to UN peacekeeping operations has gradually declined from 1,166 in August 1996 to forty-eight in September 1997. Because of its active participation in UN activities and its status as a middle-level emerging economic and political power, Brazil aspires to a permanent seat on the Security Council, if and when membership in this body is expanded.
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