Brasilia – US President Joe Biden has invited Brazil’s president-elect, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to visit the White House, which may happen after he takes office on January 1.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with Lula in Brasilia for almost two hours and discussed strengthening democracy in the Americas, combating climate change and addressing the situation in Haiti and Venezuela.
Sullivan extended the invitation for Lula to visit Washington on behalf of Biden, the White House said in a statement.
“He congratulated the president-elect on his election victory and discussed the importance of keeping open channels of communication between the two countries during the transition,” the statement, which did not include a date for an upcoming visit, said.
Lula welcomed the invite on social media.
“I am excited to talk with President Biden and deepen the relationship between our countries,” he tweeted.
Even though Lula has yet to be inaugurated, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said it made sense to invite him now.
“We want to hit the ground running with that relationship,that important bilateral relationship that we have with Brazil,” she told reporters during a briefing.
The leftist leader won Brazil’s presidential election in October, defeating far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro,who was an ally of former President Donald Trump and was the last G20 leader to recognize Biden’s 2020 victory.
Lula’s top foreign policy adviser, former Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, told reporters after the meeting that no date was set for a visit to the White House.
He said Lula told Sullivan it might have to wait until after he takes office in January.
Sullivan mentioned the possible need for an international security force for Haiti, given the serious situation there, Amorim said, but a new contribution by Brazil was not discussed.
According to Amorim, Sullivan highlighted the importance of Lula’s victory for strengthening democracy in the region.
Bolsonaro had repeatedly criticized Brazil’s electronic voting system, alleging without evidence that it was open to fraud. He has not recognised Lula’s victory.
Sullivan mentioned the importance of holding an election in Venezuela that could be considered fair, according to Amorim.
Sullivan was accompanied in the meeting with Lula by Ricardo Zuniga, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, and Juan Gonzalez, the National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere.