Biden and Bolsonaro to Have Wide-Ranging Talks at Americas Summit

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 31, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis
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WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s first formal talks with Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro will cover a wide range of issues when they meet at the Summit of the Americas next week, including food insecurity, climate change and pandemic recovery, the White House said on Wednesday.

Biden’s top Latin America adviser, Juan Gonzalez, confirmed the two would meet in Los Angeles. Asked if Biden would raise concerns about Bolsonaro’s questioning of Brazil’s voting system, he said only that the United States “does have confidence in Brazil’s electoral institutions which have proven robust.”

After signaling he might skip the summit, Bolsonaro said last week he would attend and meet Biden on the sidelines, despite what he called a “freeze” in Brazil-U.S. ties since Biden took office in January 2021. read more

The Brazilian president, a right-wing populist and admirer of former U.S. President Donald Trump, was one of the last world leaders to acknowledge Trump’s 2020 electoral defeat after Trump made false fraud claims.

Bolsonaro has made repeated expressions of doubts about Brazil’s electoral process ahead of October’s elections, without providing evidence. That has raised concerns he might not accept defeat if he is beaten by leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is leading in opinion polls. read more

“The issue of the Brazilian elections is really up for the Brazilians to decide,” Gonzalez told a news conference to preview the summit agenda.

He said talks between Biden and Bolsonaro would cover a broad spectrum of bilateral and global issues “given the importance of the U.S.-Brazil relationship.”

“There is a very long list of issues that are going to be up for discussion,” Gonzalez said.

Biden sent his special adviser for the Americas summit, former Senator Chris Dodd, to Brazil last week to convince Bolsonaro to go to the gathering, which the United States is hosting for the first time since its inaugural session in 1994.

The offer of a bilateral meeting with Biden helped sway Bolsonaro, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and some others are threatening to boycott unless Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are invited. But Bolsonaro’s presence ensures participation by Latin America’s most populous nation at a summit Washington hopes will help reassert U.S. influence in the region.

Bolsonaro on Thursday complained that Biden ignored him at a G20 summit last year and suggested it was due to the 79-year-old’s age.

Reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Washington and Daina Beth Solomon in Mexico City, additional reporting by Katharine Jackson, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien
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