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Brazil’s Lula says to meet with Biden

#Brazils #Lula #meet #Biden

Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva confirmed Friday he is planning a trip to the United States to meet with President Joe Biden before taking office on January 1.

“A representative of President Biden is traveling here to Brazil on Monday to hold talks and discuss the date,” said the veteran leftist, who defeated far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in a hard-fought election in October.

“If it’s possible for me to travel (to the US), the trip would be after (December) 12,” the day his victory is formally ratified by Brazil’s electoral tribunal, Lula told a news conference.

US-Brazilian relations have chilled since Biden defeated former president Donald Trump, Bolsonaro’s political role model, in the 2020 US election.

Ties look set to warm under Lula, who previously led Brazil from 2003 to 2010.

“I think we have a lot to say to each other,” Lula said.

“The United States is facing the same problems with democracy as Brazil. The damage Trump did to American democracy is the same as what Bolsonaro did to Brazil.”

Diplomatic issues on the table will include “US-Brazilian relations, Brazil’s role in the new geopolitics (and) the unnecessary Ukraine war,” he said.

The Biden administration will also likely be keen to discuss climate policy, after four years of surging deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon under agribusiness ally Bolsonaro.

Lula vowed last month at the UN climate conference in Egypt — which Bolsonaro skipped — to fight for zero deforestation in Brazil’s 60-percent share of the world’s biggest rainforest, a key resource in the fight to curb climate change.

The incoming president said he would also begin naming his cabinet ministers after December 12, in a news conference he kept short because he is still recovering from surgery last month on his vocal chords, he said.

Lula, 77, had throat cancer in 2011, and his trademark raspy voice has grown even hoarser since.

“My doctors told me to talk as little as possible, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t do it,” said the charismatic ex-metalworker.

“Maybe if I taped my mouth shut,” he joked.

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