US will announce entry into the Amazon Fund in a statement from Biden and Lula

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The United States will announce its intention to inject resources into the Amazon Fund, according to the text of the joint communiqué that was negotiated between the two countries on Thursday night (9). The announcement should be made after the conversation between presidents Luiz Inácio Lula das Silva (PT) and Joe Biden, who will meet in the Oval Office of the White House this Friday (10).

The communiqué confirms the defense of the environment and investments in sustainable energy as the main axes of the relaunch of relations between Brazil and the USA, after years of cooling off during the Biden and Jair Bolsonaro (PL) governments.

The Brazilian government did not anticipate a joint statement by Lula and Biden until the day before the visit. The initiative for a joint statement would have come from US government officials, according to diplomats.

The Amazon Fund is the main fundraising initiative for conservation and combating deforestation in the forest, funded by Norway and Germany, and, to a lesser extent, by Petrobras, managed by BNDES (National Development Bank).

Since the Ricardo Salles administration in the Environment, during the Bolsonaro government, Brazil has asked for resources from the US government to help with environmental preservation, but the negotiations did not advance because the US did not see signs of commitment from the former president in this area.

The Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, will meet with the special envoy for the climate of the American government, John Kerry, in the oval room of the White House, along with Biden and Lula. Kerry had already signaled to the US government that he could participate in the Amazon Fund, in a change in attitude by the White House. He met with Marina and Lula at COP27, in Egypt, before the election, and met again with a Brazilian delegation at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The two countries, which experienced similar coup attempts on January 6, 2021 in Washington and on January 8, 2023 in Brasilia, must also condemn political extremism and call for the fight against disinformation in the joint statement. The text under negotiation states that Biden and Lula reject extremism, political violence, hate speech and call for building the resilience of societies in the face of misinformation.

The position of Brazil in relation to the War in Ukraine generated divergences. Lula intends to launch a “peace club” to negotiate an end to the conflict in Eastern Europe. Despite condemning the invasion by Russia, the PT is against sending arms and ammunition to the Ukrainians and adopting sanctions against the Russians. The US, on the other hand, has been allocating billions in aid to Ukraine and continues to retaliate against the government of Vladimir Putin.

According to the investigation of Sheet, the text of the statement, until Thursday night, did not directly condemn Russia for the invasion of Ukraine, after objections by Brazilian negotiators to more specific language about Russian aggression. After much negotiation, the two countries decided to talk only about cooperation between Brazil and the US to discuss regional and global issues, including the war.

In a nod to Brazil, the communiqué should also talk about the two countries’ support for the expansion of the UN Security Council, an old demand from Lula’s diplomacy. Biden has been advocating for reform of institutions like the United Nations to more evenly reflect the new global reality. Today, the Security Council has only five permanent members with veto powers – China, Russia, the US, France, and the UK.

In addition to the Amazon Fund, the Biden government is studying another aid shipment to the region. American negotiators signaled in a closed meeting this week that the White House is considering donating US$ 4.5 billion (R$ 23.8 billion) in assistance to the Amazon river basin region (which involves Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and Bolivia) by 2030 to combat the climate crisis.

Lula arrived in Washington, however, without a joint position from the countries of the Amazon region —which would be necessary to formalize the donation. The assessment is that the most sensitive negotiation to reach this collective position would be with the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro.

For Nick Zimmerman, director for Brazil and the Southern Cone at the White House National Security Council during the Barack Obama administration, “the Biden administration has given clear signs of its interest in supporting efforts against deforestation in Brazil, including through direct funding .”

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