Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro Tuesday welcomed his Colombian counterpart Iván Duque in Brasilia to discuss bilateral issues as well as a joint agenda ahead of the COP-26 environmental summit next month in Glasgow.
Both countries agreed to double down on their efforts regarding the Amazon basin. The two heads of state also pledged to foster bilateral trade and strengthen international security, it was reported.
”I want to thank the visit of the noble President Iván, to say that Brazil will always have open arms to his country and with all certainty, we will arrive together at Glasgow to deal with a very important and expensive matter for all of us, our beloved, rich and desired Amazon,” Bolsonaro told Duque on the ramp at the Planalto Palace, in Brasilia.
The Brazilian leader spoke for about three minutes before meeting privately with Duque. Cabinet members joined in later on.
Duque highlighted in an even lengthier speech that both governments shared the idea of “arriving in Glasgow with an unequivocal message to protect this (Amazonian) territory.
Only conserving this territory can lead us to capture more than 2,000 million tons of greenhouse gases per year, Duque said.
Our voice in Glasgow will be to work for the energy transition, the reduction of emissions and achieve carbon neutrality and to do so with the protection of our Amazon, he added.
Brazil and Colombia share 1,644 kilometres of borders along the Amazon region.
Brazil, Colombia and other Amazonian countries have ratified ten days ago the 2019 Leticia Pact for the preservation of the forest and sustainable development in the area. Brazil will arrive in Glasgow with a tarnished international image after a sizeable increase in deforestation since Bolsonaro took office in 2019.
We are working on a very laudable purpose and it is the conservation of our Amazon, which is a valuable territory and we take care of it within our sovereignty (...) but that defence must bring with it a fight against environmental crimes, Duque elaborated.
Bolsonaro also addressed security matters and highlighted the common progress achieved. A very important issue is border and security cooperation; FARC concerns us both and not just in Colombia,” he said.
Brazilian political analysts close to the Bolsonaro administration had linked FARC guerrillas with drug trafficking all allegedly leading up to the opposition Workers Party (PT) of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Bolsonaro also underscored the ”good relationship we have in defence matters where the president (Duque) expressed his interest in renewing his fleet of training aircraft belonging to the Super Tucano family, of Brazilian manufacture.
Duque concurred. We are facing the threats of international crime with all our capacities, he pointed out. Before arriving in Brasilia, he had met with businessmen in São Paulo on Monday. “There is a great commercial investment relationship that we want to continue strengthening,” the Colombian leader stressed.
According to Brazil's Foreign Ministry, trade with Colombian 2020 reached US $ 3,000 million and it was growing stronger this year.
Commitments to invest more than US $ 1,400 million have materialized and that figure can exceed US $ 2,400 million when infrastructure investments are added and we are seeing Colombian investments grow in Brazil, Duque said.
Bolsonaro also said he discussed science, technology and agriculture with Duque, “because food security is a permanent objective of any country and this cooperation has a lot to do so that we can better understand each other for the betterment of our peoples.
Regarding COVID-19, Bolsonaro pointed out “Colombia has a degree of immunization, where the disease has receded, as well as in Brazil, where we hope to return to normalcy shortly.”