Biden to meet Brazil’s Lula for talks on climate, democracy

US President Joe Biden will hold face-to-face talks at the White House on Friday with Brazil’s leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a reboot of US-Brazilian relations after the end of Donald Trump ally Jair Bolsonaro’s stormy rule.

The two leaders are expected to focus on Brazilian democracy, climate change and Lula’s effort to re-engage with the global community in their late-afternoon session in the Oval Office.

“The two presidents are going to talk about how we can advance our shared commitment to promote, strengthen and defend democracy, not just in our respective countries but in the hemisphere and the world,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters ahead of the talks.

Relations between the Western Hemisphere’s two largest democracies had been lukewarm under Lula’s far-right predecessor Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro flew to Florida two days before his term ended on Jan. 1, having challenged the results of the Oct. 30 runoff election that he narrowly lost to Lula.

Days later a violent movement of election-denying Bolsonaro supporters stormed Brazil’s presidential palace, Congress and Supreme Court.

Lula will visit the White House after he meets Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic lawmakers in the morning.

Brazil’s foreign ministry said support for democracy, human rights and the environment will be at the center of Lula’s agenda in Washington.

Brazil is also eager for more countries to contribute to the Amazon Fund started by Germany and Norway to back protection of the rainforest and sustainable development projects.

The Biden administration is looking into joining the $1.3 billion fund, the two US officials confirmed to Reuters.

A US contribution to the Brazilian-administered fund would underline the resetting of ties between the two countries after the recent period of frosty relations.

Lula traveled to Washington with Environment Minister Marina Silva, who is expected to meet with Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry. The ministers of foreign relations, finance and racial equality are also part of the delegation.

Brazil reinforced its commitment to protecting the Amazon rainforest this week by launching by an enforcement operation against illegal gold miners that have devastated the Yanomami indigenous reservation in northern Brazil.

Lula’s predecessor relaxed environmental protections, encouraging mining and logging in the Amazon and allowing deforestation in the region to hit a 15-year high.