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Rousseff, Blatter meet amid latest delays

ZURICH (AP) - The presidents of Brazil and FIFA expressed their faith in organizing a successful World Cup, amid missed construction deadlines and warnings about dropping one host city.

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''We are ready. We will be staging the cup of all cups,'' Brazil President Dilma Rousseff said through a translator at FIFA headquarters on Thursday.

Rousseff spoke at a joint news conference with FIFA President Sepp Blatter after their one-hour meeting. No questions were allowed.

She said her government was strongly committed to completing all the public works required, which she described as ''relatively simple'' to build.

Stadiums, city transport projects and airports have fallen behind schedule ahead of the June 12 kickoff. Among the delayed projects is the Sao Paulo, the site of the opener between Brazil and Croatia.

Blatter greeted Rousseff at the FIFA entrance and engaged her in a handshake. Their gesture follows years of public sparring between Brazil and FIFA over World Cup preparations.

''It is all a matter of confidence and mutual trust. Confidence prevails,'' Blatter said, promising a ''wonderful'' World Cup.

Rousseff visited FIFA before attending the World Economic Forum in Davos. She traveled after attending the opening of the stadium in Natal, just the seventh of 12 intended venues to be completed despite FIFA's December deadline. Rousseff on Wednesday had acknowledged problems with the stadium in Curitiba.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke this week warned that Curitiba was not assured of being a host city because of stadium delays. FIFA requested progress reports by Feb. 18.

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
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