Top Trump adviser Bolton meets Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro
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Top Trump adviser Bolton meets Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro

Ahead of first high-level meeting, NSA says Washington sees election of far-right leader as ‘historic opportunity’ for both countries

US National Security Adviser John Bolton, in the car on left, arrives for a meeting with Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, in his residence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
US National Security Adviser John Bolton, in the car on left, arrives for a meeting with Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, in his residence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

RIO DE JANEIRO — US National Security Adviser John Bolton met Thursday with Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, the first high-level meeting between the United States and the far-right president-elect.

Bolton arrived in a large convoy for the hour-long interview in Rio de Janeiro with Bolsonaro — who is set to take office on January 1, as both sides hope to bolster ties.

Bolton, a top adviser to US President Donald Trump, left Bolsonaro’s residence without giving a statement to the press.

“President Trump was the first foreign leader to call the president-elect,” Bolton had recalled Tuesday.

“We see this as a historic opportunity for Brazil and the United States to work together, a whole host of areas — economics, security and a range of others,” he said.

“I’m really there to prepare to ground” for the two leaders, Bolton added.

Jair Bolsonaro gestures to supporters during the second round of the presidential elections, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 28, 2018. (MAURO PIMENTEL / AFP)

Bolsonaro is a fervent Trump admirer and has made no secret of his intention to reorient Brazilian diplomacy towards Washington.

The president-elect followed Trump’s footsteps in announcing his intention to move Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, breaking with a half-century of diplomacy.

He also alienated China, the world’s second biggest economy, by accusing it of “buying Brazil,” and then turning his attentions to Taiwan, which he visited in February.

Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, appears set to be a key regional ally for Washington, in its desire to further isolate left-leaning regimes in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

Trump is expected in Buenos Aires for the G20 summit opening Friday.

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