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  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks next to Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro after a lunch in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 28, 2018.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks next to Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro after a lunch in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 28, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 December 2018

Netanyahu and Bolsonaro held talks on Friday and promised cooperation in defense.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Peru's President Martin Vizcarra in Brazil at the swearing-in ceremony of far-right President-Elect Jair Bolsonaro on January 1, 2019.

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The meeting was confirmed by the U.S. State Department but no details were given. It’s expected that Pompeo will arrive in Brasilia, the capital of South America’s biggest country, on December 31 and remain there until January 2. Pompeo will also meet with Brazil’s future foreign minister, Ernesto Araujo.

Netanyahu has been in Brazil since Thursday and will remain there for five days, becoming the first Israeli prime minister to officially visit the South American country.

"Brazil is a huge market, almost 250 million people; the opening of this gigantic market will create new jobs in Israel and will greatly help the Israeli economy," Netanyahu said.

Israel and Brazil hope to establish cooperation agreements for defense, security, agribusiness and other economic areas.

"Israel is a world reference in technology for different services and we're interested in that. There's no reason to criticize dialogue, especially when the criticism comes from that who does nothing, only destroys and steals the country. We want the best for Brazil and for the people of Brazil!"
 

The meeting with Pompeo comes just as the U.S. prepares to withdraw troops from Syria, putting Netanyahu at odds with U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time while saying he respects Washington’s decision.

Bolsonaro has been openly supportive of the Trump-led U.S. government and promised shortly after being elected, last October, to move Brazil's embassy to Jerusalem, an action that contradicts the vast majority of nations which still have embassies in Tel Aviv.

"Israel is a sovereign country and we must respect that absolutely," the Brazilian president tweeted at the time.

The Israeli prime minister and Bolsonaro met on Friday pledging to deepen ties, but no formal announcement was made about the embassy move.

Pompeo is expected to fly to Colombia for a meeting with President Ivan Duque after Bolsonaro’s swearing-in ceremony.

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