Brazil and U.S. Sign First Major Military Cooperation Agreement Since 1977; Some Tensions Remain
April 13, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story – The United States and Brazil signed their first major military cooperation agreement in decades on Monday in Washington. The agreement provides for cooperation in research and development, information exchanges, and allows for joint military exercises and training.
“This agreement will lead to a deepening of U.S.-Brazil defense cooperation at all levels,” U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, according to The Washington Post.
Early reports published in the Brazilian press alluded to the creation of a “multinational, multifunction” base in Rio de Janeiro, but the final agreement — available in both English and Portuguese on the Brazilian Foreign Defense Ministry’s Web site — makes no mention of new facilities or bases.
Though the agreement pointed to an increased sense of partnership between Brazil and the U.S., it was signed as the two countries face diplomatic tensions over military and security issues.
U.S.-based Boeing Co. looks likely to lose out on a $4 billion deal to supply the Brazilian air force with 36 new jets. Though no decision has yet been reached, Brazil’s defense minister, Nelson Jobim, has said he prefers France’s Rafaele jets because France had made the most generous offer for technology transfer, according to Reuters.
In addition, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva questioned the significance of a recent agreement between the U.S. and Russia to reduce nuclear arms in an interview with Spanish daily El Pais, saying that “if we’re talking about deactivating what’s already expired, it doesn’t make sense.” Lula added that he rejected a situation in which “some countries are allowed to be armed to the teeth while other are left unarmed,” in an apparent allusion to U.S. support for sanctions against Iran.
“We don’t have the right to put anyone up against a wall, to employ all-or-nothing tactics,” Lula said. “I have told Obama, Sarkozy and Merkel that we have to talk with Iran.”
Lula is attending the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington this week. Brazil is a member of the U.N. Security Council.
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Image: World Economic Forum @ Flickr.