Brazil open to alliance with Gulf states, official tells Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed

Eduardo Bolsonaro says his father, the Brazilian president, will talk of alliance on his UAE visit

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, meets Eduardo Bolsonaro, member of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, who is currently visiting the UAE. Wam
Powered by automated translation

Brazil would welcome an alliance with the Gulf states to work towards common goals, a Brazilian congressman said on Monday.

"We are open to new markets and new opportunities. Therefore, we would welcome such an idea," said Eduardo Bolsonaro, chairman of the international relations and national defence committee in the lower house of Brazil's Parliament, called the Chamber of Deputies.

Mr Bolsonaro's comments followed a meeting with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, in Abu Dhabi.

He said his father, President Jair Bolsonaro, would visit the UAE in October, when he would discuss ways to expand co-operation between the two countries.

Sheikh Abdullah was the first foreign minister from the Arab world to visit the Brazilian president in March, after he came into power in January.

As Brazil's reciprocal gesture, the president's state visit to the UAE will be his first to a country in this region, Mr Bolsonaro said.

The two countries have much in common in opposing terrorism.

Last year, they signed an exemption agreement to allow citizens of each country to travel visa-free in Brazil and the UAE, which Mr Bolsonaro said encouraged tourism.

Two daily flights by Emirates between Dubai and Brazil are the only direct services from the UAE to Latin America.

“That’s why Brazil acts as a gateway to Latin America for the UAE,” Mr Bolsonaro said.

On Saturday, he and Sheikh Abdullah discussed co-operation in the economic, investment, commercial, parliamentary, tourism, military and defence fields, along with ways to combat terrorism.

"The UAE is looking forward to boosting co-operation with Brazil in all domains for the benefit of the two friendly peoples," Sheikh Abdullah told the state news agency Wam.

About 10,000 Brazilians live in the UAE. Mr Bolsonaro said sports such as jiu-jitsu and football are bringing the two countries even closer.

He said there were about 1,600 Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructors and many footballers playing for UAE clubs.

Almost 12 million Arabs live in Brazil. More than half of them are of Lebanese descent and moved to Brazil in the 19th century after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

The Arab immigrants "preserved their own culture but did not want to change Brazilian culture", Mr Bolsonaro said.

Asked about US-Iran tension in the Gulf, he said: “We don’t see the possibility of a war. But we think it could be very dangerous if Iran develops nuclear weapons.”

“Otherwise Iran may attract more economic sanctions from the US. Iran’s economy is not doing well and it is a good time for them to reflect on what they are doing."