BRASILIA - Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will likely wait until after his inauguration on January 1 to travel to Washington for a planned meeting with US President Joe Biden, a top adviser said Monday.
Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, formally extended the invitation for a White House visit to the president-elect during a visit to Brasilia Monday, but there has been a back-and-forth on the dates.
Lula’s camp initially said he would visit Washington later this month, before he takes over from far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whom he defeated in a hard-fought election in October.
But top adviser Celso Amorim, who served as Lula’s foreign minister when the veteran leftist was previously president from 2003 to 2010, said after the meeting with Sullivan that the trip would likely come in early 2023.
“Biden would be ready to welcome president Lula even before he takes office,” Amorim told journalists. But a more likely scenario is “early in the year, (with Lula) making an official visit as president,” he said.
He said Lula and Sullivan had held a “very broad conversation” on issues including fighting climate change, the Ukraine war, economic development, green technology and strengthening democracy in Latin America.
Lula wrote on Twitter he was “excited to speak with President Biden on deepening our countries’ relationship.”
“Brazil is becoming respected in the world again,” he added on Instagram, alongside a picture of him and Sullivan shaking hands.
US-Brazilian relations chilled after Biden defeated Donald Trump, Bolsonaro’s political role model, in the 2020 US election.
But ties look set to warm again under Lula.
Sullivan is also due to meet with members of the Bolsonaro administration on his Brazil trip. AFP