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Bolsonaro solidifies Brazil’s defence ties with US

Miami: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visited the US Southern Command headquarters here to discuss regional security, where he witnessed the signing of an accord expanding military cooperation between the two countries.

“It was an honour to welcome President Bolsonaro and the distinguished delegation from Brazil to our headquarters and to speak with him about the growing defence ties between our nations,” Efe news quoted Navy Adm., Craig Faller, at the SouthCom facility in Miami’s Doral suburb, as saying on Sunday.

On Saturday night, US President Donald Trump hosted Bolsonaro at his Mar-a-Lago resort for dinner. This is the Brazilian leader’s second trip to the US since assuming office in January 21.

On Sunday, Brazilian Air Force Gen. Raul Botelho Gen. Raul Botelho and Faller signed a bilateral Agreement on Research Development, Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) Projects.

After the signing, Brazilian Defence Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva told reporters that the new pact could make it easier for Brazil’s defence industry to sell its wares to the US and to Washington’s 28 NATO partners.

Last year, Trump designated Brazil as Washington’s 18th Major non-NATO ally. The only other country in Latin America to hold that status is Argentina, added to the list in 1998 by then-President Bill Clinton.

That designation was a prerequisite for the RDT&E, which is expected to take effect in 2021.

Negotiations on the accord began under former Brazilian President Michel Temer.

Prior to the signing ceremony, Bolsonaro and his delegation held talks with Faller and other senior US officers on how the two nations can work together to address “opportunities and threats” in the region.

White House sources said that while Saturday night’s discussion between Trump and Bolsonaro included bilateral trade and military cooperation, the main topic was the situation in Venezuela, where Washington is seeking to topple the Nicolas Maduro government.