WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff agreed on Monday to increase defense cooperation and facilitate tourism and business travel between their two nations.
Bilateral ties “have never been stronger,” Rousseff, making her first official visit to the United States as Brazil’s president, told reporters after she and the U.S. leader met in the White House Oval Office.
Obama hailed the “enormous progress” in relations between the two countries since he traveled to the giant South American nation about a year ago and praised Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, for Brazil’s recent accomplishments.
“Moving from dictatorship to democracy, embarking on an extraordinary growth path, lifting millions of people out of poverty, and becoming not only a leading voice in the region but also a leading voice in the world,” the U.S. president said.
A binational panel on defense cooperation, to be chaired by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Brazilian counterpart Celso Amorim, will hold its first meeting April 24, the two leaders said Monday in a statement.
The presidents likewise “committed to work closely together to satisfy the requirements of the of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program and Brazil’s applicable legislation to enable U.S. and Brazilian citizens visa free travel.”
The global economy provided the only note of discord on Monday, as Rousseff stressed Brazil’s concerns about the expansive monetary policies of the United States and the European Union.
Such policies, she told reporters, “ultimately lead to a depreciation in the value of the currencies of developed countries, thus impairing growth outlooks in emerging countries.” EFE