WASHINGTON (AFP) – The weekend summit between presidents Barack Obama of the United States and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil underscores Brazil's "ascendancy in the world," a top US diplomat said Friday.
The two leaders will meet at the White House Saturday to discuss growing ties promoting alternative energy like biofuels and economic development, as well as tackling climate change and fighting malaria and AIDS in Africa.
"This, from our point of view, is a great opportunity for the United States to build on an important relationship that we have with Brazil," Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon told reporters.
In promoting biofuels, the two countries have "built a relationship around alternative energy sources dedicated to using energy as an important component of social and economic development," Shannon said.
Their work to fight climate change and protect the environment will "open a space for the United States and Brazil to cooperate more broadly, not only throughout Latin America, especially Central America and the Caribbean, but also in Africa and other parts of the developed world."
The two countries have also worked together "to address health care concerns, whether it be fighting malaria in Africa or fighting HIV-AIDS in Africa," and Washington hopes to "deepen that commitment," Shannon said.
The relationship is not only bilateral and regional but also has "a strong global partnership component to it. It is a recognition of Brazil's ascendancy in the world," he said.
"And we think that we are at a point in which this relationship, which has had so much potential, will be able to have that potential realized in ... the coming months and years."
"And we think that this opportunity for President Obama and President Lula to meet on Saturday is going to be an important and dramatic step forward," Shannon added.