Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met his visiting Brazilian counterpart, Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo, at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

Speaking at the press conference, the two men affirmed the strategic partnerships between the United States and Brazil.

“When President Trump and President Bolsonaro met at the White House last March, they committed to expand, to strengthen our strategic partnership. That’s why today we’re holding our first strategic dialogue in seven years,” Pompeo told members of the press.

Pompeo stated that the two countries reached a deeper basis of partnership.

“We’ve entered a deep, new, important era in U.S.-Brazil ties,” said Pompeo. He said that Brazil under Bolsonaro’s leadership “embraced a greater role for the free market—the best driver of economic growth and prosperity.”

Pompeo stated Brazil is a major democracy that supports the only true democracy in the Middle East, that is, Israel. He mentioned that Brazil is a staunch partner and friend in the Lima group, helping to find a peaceful end to the crisis in Venezuela.

Pompeo talked about the next steps in their new roles and how the two countries plan to boost their trade relationship that is already accounting for over $100 billion annually.

Pompeo said the Brazilian and the American teams would follow through on their commitment that their presidents made in March.

“We’re getting off the ground a $100 million, 11-year Impact Investment Fund for Amazon biodiversity conservation and that project will be led by the private sector,” said Pompeo.

On his part, Brazilian Foreign Minister Araujo highlighted significant strides in the U.S.-Brazil relationship, achieved at their Friday meeting of the Strategic Partnership Dialogue.

“We really want to make it strategic in the sense of being a forum where we can discuss the interconnection of different initiatives, of different areas of endeavor where we can plan for the future and where we can through different initiatives reinforce the whole relationship,” stated Araujo.

During the press conference, Araujo addressed Brazil’s sovereignty in the handling of increasing challenges of the Amazon basin and the fact that some countries are thinking that Brazil is unable to cope with these issues, such as the Amazon fires.

“We know that’s not true. And our friends here in the U.S. know that’s not true,” stated Araujo.

He said the United States and Brazil would cooperate to protect and develop the Amazon basin.

“We need new initiatives, new productive initiatives that create jobs that create revenue for people in the Amazon and that’s where our partnership of the United States will be very important for us,” said Araujo.

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