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U.S. and Brazil near new defensive pact

As early as April 12, the United States and Brazil could ink their first defense pact since 1977. Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim made note of the bilateral deal during his April 7 remarks to Brazil’s foreign relations committee in the lower house of Congress. Jobim will travel to Washington Monday to sign the deal alongside U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The negotiations come at a time of bumps in bilateral relations caused by Brazil’s reluctance to back new UN sanctions on Iran as well as the likelihood that it will purchase French fighter jets over American ones. Areas covered in the new pact, including training, collaboration and exchanges between military experts and students, defense-related commercial initiatives, and naval visits. News of the agreement and Valenzuela’s allusion to it sparked reports that Washington may install a military base to fight narcotrafficking based in Rio de Janeiro. Last year, a defense deal between Washington and Bogota allowing U.S. troops to operate out of Colombian military bases drew concern and debate from members of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

Earlier in the week, a senior U.S. government official commented to the Associated Press that the pact will provide a broad framework for military cooperation. They added that it is different from military pacts Washington has with Colombia and its NATO partners. Reuters reports that, after Jobim’s visit next week, Gates will travel to Colombia, Peru, and Barbados. Washington has been accused of ignoring Latin America with its attention turned to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read More at AP or Reuters

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