President Joe Biden and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met at the White House on Friday, February 10th. The two leaders met in an effort to rebuild relations in a manner different from the previous administrations and tackle other issues. This would be the first time Biden and Lula have met since the latter assumed the highest political office in Brazil.
A Democratic Future
The two presidents agreed that they would work to ensure democracy remains the core of their countries’ political systems. “As leaders of the two largest democracies in the Americas, President Biden and President Lula pledged to work together to strengthen democratic institutions and welcomed the second Summit for Democracy to be held in March 2023.
“Both leaders noted they continue to reject extremism and violence in politics, condemned hate speech, and reaffirmed their intention to build societal resilience to disinformation, and agreed to work together on these issues,” read a joint statement released by the White House.
Lula and Biden both experienced insurrection when mobs tried to delegitimize their presidential election victories. Biden witnessed the January 6th Capitol attack in 2021 while Lula saw a mob of his countrymen break into Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential offices on January 8th this year. They both vowed they would never allow anti-democratic protests to happen again.
Climate change was a topic on both presidents’ agendas, with the reforestation of the Amazon discussed. Both presidents agreed they were on the same page with regard to fighting climate change.
The Biden Administration did not commit outright to providing financial support to the Amazon Fund, which had largely been funded by Norway and Germany before it was suspended during the former president Bolsonaro’s era, but pledged to draw up a plan with Congress. “As part of these efforts, the United States announced its intent to work with Congress to provide funds for programs to protect and conserve the Brazilian Amazon, including initial support for the Amazon Fund, and to leverage investments in this critical region,” the statement said.
President Lula said that during the meeting he had suggested that the world’s wealthiest countries fund nations with rainforests in the fight against climate change.
Presidents Lula and President Biden both agreed that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has had, and continues to have, a negative impact globally. “They deplored the violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine by Russia and the annexation of parts of its territory as flagrant violations of international law and called for a just and durable peace,” the joint statement said.
However, the Brazilian president said he did not think Ukraine was completely innocent in the conflict. He suggested that a group of countries is set up to initiate peace talks. “I’m convinced we have to find a way to end this war,” President Lula told a group of journalists. “You need to have partners able to build a group of negotiators with credibility on both sides who can end the war.”
President Biden is not believed to lean towards peace talks but it has been suggested he would not mind an agreement as long as it was acceptable to Ukraine.
Lula and Biden are eager to see their countries work together by walking a path different from that of their predecessors. President Lula invited President Biden to Brazil and the latter accepted. “The two leaders committed to broaden their dialogue and to pursue deeper cooperation in the lead-up to the celebration of the bicentennial of U.S.-Brazil diplomatic relations in 2024,” the joint statement concluded.