From the Newsroom
São Paulo – Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro met with Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman last Saturday (29) in Osaka, Japan. “With the firm purpose of bringing investment into our country, I spoke with prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, the biggest economy in the Arab world, about investment opportunities in Brazil,” the president tweeted.
The meeting happened in the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting, which took place on Friday (28) and Saturday. “We are taking a much more balanced stand on the Middle East,” Bolsonaro also tweeted. He was quoted by Brazilian news portal Terra as telling Salman Brazil “has its arms open” to Saudi Arabia. Shortly before the meeting, Bolsonaro told reporters he’s considering visiting Saudi Arabia next October, Terra reported.
“Brazil belongs to everyone, no matter their religion or where they come from. Whether you’re Jewish, Arab, Muslim or Christian, it’s really a country where everyone lives in perfect harmony,” Bolsonaro told the Saudi prince in video footage released by the Presidency’s press office.
Saudi Arabia’s state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Bolsonaro’s meeting with the heir prince, who’s also deputy prime minister and Defense minister. It said Mohammed bin Salman and Bolsonaro discussed Brazilian-Saudi relations and the need to advance them across the board.
Year-to-date through May, Saudi Arabia was the second biggest Arab importer of goods from Brazil at USD 856 million, trailing only the UAE. It was also the biggest supplier of goods to Brazil, at USD 924.7 million in sales. Brazil sells mostly meat and sugar and imports mostly oil and fertilizers from Saudi Arabia.
The Bolsonaro administration has been making overtures to Arab countries. Throughout the election campaign and after being sworn-in, the president had pledged to move the Embassy of Brazil from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – which prompted outcry. The move did not come to pass. Over the last few months, at least two Bolsonaro cabinet members – Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication minister Marcos Cesar Pontes and Environment minister Ricardo Salles – have been to the UAE. The UAE’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan also travelled to Brazil.
Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum